Crime

"Ma Barker" and Teen Robbery Crew Arrested in Phoenix, Cops Say; Mom and Sons, 12 & 14 years old Sought Victims

Police are accusing a Phoenix woman, her two young sons, and their friends of a series of local robberies, comparing the woman to the infamous Midwestern criminal of the 1930s, "Ma" Barker.

Actually, this crime makes Ma Barker look like Mother Theresa.

"It's absolutely scary -- and it's disgusting," says Detective James Holmes of the Phoenix police.

Like Barker, Cynthia Roberson is accused of helping her sons commit crimes. Phoenix police say

Police say Cynthia Roberson, 51, drove around north Phoenxi and Glendale in her gold-colored SUV with her sons and their friends, looking for pedestrians who looked like easy prey. When they spotted a likely lamb, the boys would jump out of the SUV, assault the victim and "take whatever they could."

"We call these 'street jumps'," says Holmes.

Cops think the team assaulted and robbed up 40 or more people in a two-week period. The punk-asses used their fists, handguns and a rifle to facilitate the robberies; weapons were recovered at Roberson's house -- 16220 North 7th Street -- after cops served a search warrant on Friday. Cops believe they've arrested most of the suspects at this point. Their names are:

Suspect #1: Roberson, Cynthia, White, female, 51 years of age

(booking number P548829)

Suspect #2: Roberson, John, White, male, 12 years of age (booked)

Suspect #3: Roberson, Tony, White, male, 14 years of age

(arrested previous week for armed robbery)

Suspect #4: Ankron, Aaron, White, male, 14 years of age (booked)

Suspect #5: Elias, Jorge, Hispanic, male, 18 years of age (booked)

Suspect #6: Vaughn, Tony, Hispanic, male, 20 years of age

(booking number P548825)

Suspect #7: Toydemir, Taylor, White, male, 16 years of age

(arrested previous week for armed robbery)

Suspect #8: Moore, Jason, Black, male, (felony warrant, booked)

Police plan to release pictures later today.

Cynthia Roberson's criminal charges may include more than just the robberies -- cops want to nail her on child abuse allegations.

"We either rehabilitate these kids quick or they're going to learn it better," Holmes says.

Kind of gives "Hey, Mom, can I have a lift?" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.