ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9 got a look at evidence against a group of suspects being called the Ninja Robbers, who targeted wealthy homeowners across the state, including in Windermere.
Investigators picked up Frank Bower, Jonathan Contreras and Andres Perez after a failed robbery at an Orange County home in May. They later arrested a fourth suspect and linked the group to several home invasions not only in central Florida, but also in South Florida.
In a recorded interview with investigators, Bower said he was financially broke and nervous when he robbed a Windermere home in April with other men.
"Did they say to you, 'Look, we do these robberies, but we don't ever hurt anybody?'" asked the detective.
"Yeah," said Bower.
In the interview, Bower called Perez the leader of the deal and said Perez ran the whole show.
"Who planned it and whose idea was it and who seemed to be in charge?" the detective asked.
"Andres. He's been doing it 15 years. Nobody's ever caught him, you know
?" said Bower. "So figure that one out, you know .?"
Bower told detectives he was only involved in the Windermere home invasion in April, but he said the other men were responsible for other home invasions, including some in Texas.
"Three in Texas?" asked the detective.
"Yeah," said Bower.
"OK, and you said how many down in South Florida?" the detective asked.
"Eight or nine," said Bower.
say the robbers would wait for hours for their victims to return to the homes. In an attempted robbery in Naples, authorities said, they waited nearly four hours before moving on to another house because they got tired of waiting.
Detectives also asked Bower how the group picked the homeowner in Windermere and why they targeted that neighborhood.
Bower said the Windermere neighborhood was picked because it was a wealthy area they were familiar with.
"We know the area," he said. "They know the area. They're going to go in every time, and as far as the house, it was totally random that day."
"What do they look for when they're picking a house to rob?" the detective asked.
"Easy entry," said Bower.
In the Windermere robbery, Bower said the group watched the homeowner leave and then waited an hour for him to return, which is when they robbed him.
"(Perez) goes on that Google Earth, and then he could look at the houses and he could look at the way they go in and out and made all that decision," said Bower.
say the robbers smashed the victims' phones and threw them in the toilets to make sure they didn't call police.