SAN FRANCISCO — Three career criminals are suspected in a string of robbery attacks on women throughout California, authorities said Thursday.
Police identified the suspects as parolees Joseph O'Neal, 30, and Todd Anthony Williams, 36. A companion suspected in at least three of the attacks, Lisa Rena Johnson, 32, is wanted for questioning.
In as many as five cases, the three abducted the women from their cars, robbed them of their bank cards for quick cash and left them badly beaten, police said.
The latest attack linked to the three suspects took place Tuesday about 45 miles outside Las Vegas in the California town of Baker, authorities said.
A 55-year-old Barstow woman was stranded with a flat tire along Interstate 5 south of Primm, Nev., when three people stopped, offering to help. They returned later and robbed her at gunpoint, tying her up and breaking her jaw.
"If her car didn't have a flat, they probably would have taken it too," said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Cpl. Carol Lunley. "They preyed on her as she waited for help."
Three days before that, a 36-year-old San Marcos woman was carjacked, pistol-whipped and robbed of $5 at a Denny's parking lot in Escondido. She was bound with duct tape and thrown in the back seat of her car before the assailants let her go because she didn't have a bank card, Escondido police said.
"Anybody that would accost somebody in a public parking lot and beat her up in her own car, I think that's dangerous," Police Det. Ralph Claytor said.
After the attack, the three asked for directions to Las Vegas before abandoning the woman in her car, he said.
They are also suspected in several attacks in the San Francisco Bay area.
Alice Tennyson, 58, was grabbed by two men at her office parking lot Nov. 17 and kept bound and locked in her trunk for two days. Police found her wandering in a Laguna Beach park, where the attackers had left her taped to a park bench.
She said her captors withdrew cash from her bank account and used it to buy crack.