February 28, 2005
The third of four men accused of committing a series of vicious home invasions in the East Valley is to be sentenced to prison for 10 1 /2 to 30 years Tuesday.
Vingh Cao Vu’s two codefendants have both been sentenced to 30 years each in prison for home invasions in Chandler and Gilbert in which Asian families were targeted.
According to court records, Vu, 36, helped An Thanh Nguyen, 20, and Tuan Nguyen, 33, and an unknown accomplice break into a Chandler home in the early hours of July 16, 2003, and then beat and bind the six family members and steal $20,000 worth of jewelry and more than $2,000 in cash.
A teenage girl heard the break-in and kept her wits enough to make her bed to make it appear no one used the bedroom. She then hid under her bed and called 911, before hiding her cell phone in a shoe.
"The 911 tape carries (her) screams for mercy as An Nguyen drug her out from under the bed by her hair," prosecutor Jon Eliason, a deputy Maricopa County attorney, wrote in a presentence report.
Chandler police arrested the three men as they tried to escape the scene, but a fourth suspect escaped capture.
Judge James Keppel sentenced An Nguyen Feb. 22 and Tuan Nguyen Feb. 21, 2004.
Judge Sherry Stephens will sentence Vu.
The three pleaded guilty to armed robbery, kidnapping and burglary charges.
Almost two months before the Chandler robbery, An Nguyen was involved in one in Gilbert with Toan An Luong, 28, a criminal indictment alleges.
The assailants wore masks and socks on their hands just as in the Chandler robbery, but An Nguyen left a sock behind and police were able to make a DNA match from the sweat left on the sock, said Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Luong also faces charges in a Jan. 17, 2003, home invasion in Tempe where three men broke through a sliding glass door and menaced a father, a 14-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy.
Luong cut himself during the attack and police were able to make a DNA match from blood at the scene, court documents state.