TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A mother and son duo are behind bars after robbing a Florida woman of $800,000 worth of jewelry, according to police.
With bruises behind her ear, cheek, and hand, and a bloody cut on the back of her head, Yunet Sanchez told NBC affiliate WTVJ she thought she was going to die when she was violently beaten and robbed on Sept. 16 outside of her nail salon in Hialeah, Florida, where she also sells jewelry.
Police said Sanchez was loading a suitcase filled with 1,300 pieces of jewelry — worth over $800,000 — into her car when Julian Flores approached her with a gun and demanded the bag.
Sanchez clung to the bag as Flores used his firearm to pistol-whipped her several times. A shot rang out amid the struggle, prompting Sanchez to release her grip.
“When he fired the gun, I was terrified,” Sanchez told the local news outlet. “I thought to myself, ‘he’s going to kill me.’”
Surveillance video captured the moment when Flores took off with the suitcase in a rental getaway car driven by his mother, Lourdes Diaz, police said.
Hialeah Police spokesperson Scarlett Hernandez said, “This mother-son duo planned this crime for over a month in advance to where the mother befriended the victim.”
Sanchez said Diaz came to her shop three times a week to get services and to look at jewelry. After the robbery, police said Diaz tried covering it up by calling Sanchez and asking if she was alright.
Sanchez was not alright. The robbery had left her beat and battered.
“He hit me so hard, he cut my head in two places,” Sanchez said. “They had to give me stitches.”
Investigators said Diaz used a rental car to stake out the business weeks earlier, then rented a different car for the violent robbery.
Investigators tracked the duo using information from the rental cars and GPS data.
Sanchez said she never saw it coming.
“She was a very sweet person, easy to talk to, she said. “Nobody would ever think she could do something like this.”