Lafayette police say the Pittsburg man who confronted a Sweet Drive resident at his front door, overpowered him, and led him through the home in a search for valuables Tuesday came to Lafayette with the intent of doing such a crime and had likely cased the neighborhood before.
Police arrested 26-year-old Manuel Bustos as he was sitting in the victim’s car outside a downtown bank while the victim, an older man in his 60s, was inside purportedly to withdraw money for Bustos. The victim tipped bank employees that he had been kidnapped under duress and they, in turn, notified police.
Bustos was arrested at gunpoint without further incident, roughly a half hour after he arrived at his intended target’s front door dressed in reflective vest and hard hat, pushing his way inside after the victim – believing the man was there to make a service call – unlocked the front door.
Investigators said Bustos forced his victim from room to room of the home in the 3400 block of Sweet Drive, threatening to harm both him and his family if he did not comply and turn over valuables.
Bustos reportedly found an unloaded shotgun in the home but was unable to secure ammunition for it as the homeowner kept shells in another location. He allegedly used the gun to prod the resident into his car, Bustos leaving another vehicle behind, before he jettisoned the weapon in the front yard.
Police descended on the parking lot of the Chase Bank, 3492 Mt Diablo Blvd., at around 2 p.m. Tuesday after the customer entered the bank and told employees he had been beaten inside his home and instructed to withdraw funds by a man still waiting outside.
Police said Bustos came to Lafayette looking to rob a home, driving through the area the day before the robbery. Detectives said Bustos spotted the victim outside his residence on Sweet Drive and decided to rob the older man because he looked like an “easy target.”
In order to gain access to the home, according to police, Bustos dressed as a service worker in vest and hard hat. He was carrying a bucket with a crowbar and a torch in his hands when he confronted his victim and pushed his way inside.
Police said there was no connection between Bustos and the victim other than the robbery.
Bustos was booked into jail on charges of kidnapping, robbery, making criminal threats, burglary, elder abuse, and stolen automobile.
He is being held in lieu of $395,000 bail.