A 53-year-old Half Moon Bay resident wielding a machete allegedly kidnapped a homeless man on Sunday night in an attempt to force the victim to buy him items at a local store.
The suspect, identified as Martin Arango-Cruz, allegedly woke up a 55-year-old transient who was camping underneath a Highway 1 bridge crossing Pilarcitos Creek. The suspect demanded the victim hand over a tent and a cell phone that he believed the man had stolen earlier that day, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
Brandishing a machete, Arango-Cruz reportedly slashed at nearby plants and scared the victim into coming with him. They walked to the nearby CVS Pharmacy to buy a new tent and cell phone, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. At the drug store, the victim asked employees to call for help, and the alleged kidnapper fled the scene.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the store and began interviewing the victim. While they were talking, the deputies spotted Arango-Cruz returning to the store, and they detained him.
Arango-Cruz told deputies that earlier in the day the victim came to his residence trying to sell a tent and stove. Arango-Cruz said he was interested in the items and went inside for his wallet, but when he returned he found his cell phone was missing along with the transient.
Arango-Cruz reportedly said he grabbed his machete following the incident and began searching the neighborhood for the man.
The transient denied stealing the cell phone.
Deputies arrested Arango-Cruz on charges of kidnapping and exhibiting a deadly weapon. On Monday, he posted a $100,000 bail bond and was released from jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on July 16.