HOUSTON – Houston police are searching for four armed men who posed as police to stop a motorist and rob him on the Southwest Freeway Nov. 2.
William Rosendi, immigrated from Cuba seven months ago to build a life in Houston only to lose almost everything he owns to four men posing as police officers.
At around 9 p.m. on Nov. 2, Rosendi says he pulled off the Southwest Freeway service road near Gessner Road because a car behind him began flashing blue emergency lights.
One of four men in the car got out, and asked Rosendi for his license. As he went for it, he says a second man began beating him with a pistol.
One of the men then slipped behind the wheel of Rosendi’s car, while the others forced him into the rear seat of theirs. They drove away with him, while two men in the back seat continued to beat him.
The men took his car, his wallet with a little over $200 cash, his immigration papers and identification documents.
They finally released him about 4 miles away in the 11700 block of Belfort Village St. The men stopped and forced him out of the car, but then made him strip off all of his clothes and left him naked in the street.
Rosendi describes the suspects as middle-aged Hispanic men he’d never seen before. It’s possible they targeted him earlier that night when he pulled out his wallet to pay for gas at a convenience store.
It’s also possible he was targeted because he’s an immigrant, in his case, a documented immigrant.
Professor Rebecca Pfeffer teaches criminology at University of Houston Downtown.
She says it’s suspected that crimes against immigrants, documented and otherwise, are underreported.
“If he was targeted because of his new immigrant status, or nationality, that’s actually considered a hate crime under federal law.” Pfeffer said. “He did absolutely the right thing calling the police.”
Rosendi says he’d like to see the men caught and believes he could pick them out of a lineup.
His car was found abandoned about a week after the robbery, but so far, still no sign of the suspects.