Erlin Obani Romero, 25, of San Francisco, California, United States has been arrested. He is accused of kidnapping Jeffrey Fang‘s daughter Winnifred Fang, 4, and son Sean Fang, 1.
Jeffrey is a Chinese-American gig worker for DoorDash, a food delivery service launched in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California in 2013. At around 8:50 p.m. on February 6, 2021, he parked his Honda Odyssey minivan near Jackson Street and Laguna Street in Pacific Heights, San Fracisco and left the engine running.
Winnifred and Sean waited in the van while their father was making a DoorDash food delivery. After the delivery, Romero and an accomplice tried to steal Jeffrey’s phone.
Jeffrey struggled with the suspects and was able to get his phone back. Before he could run back to his van, the suspects took the vehicle with Winnifred and Sean inside, the father told KTVU.
An Amber Alert was issued. At around 1:00 a.m. on February 7, 2021, authorities found the van on the 1200 block of Fitzgerald Avenue with the two children inside.
Both of Jeffrey’s two children only speak Mandarin Chinese. They were unharmed and have been reunited with their parents.
Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, a friend of Jeffrey, set up a GoFundMe page for the victims on February 6, 2020. As of February 10, 2021, it has raised $147,249, which exceeded its $100,000 goal.
At around 11:20 a.m. on February 9, 2021, Romero was found by San Francisco Police officers assigned to the Special Investigations Division (SID) and a San Francisco County Sheriff’s deputy assigned to the Warrant Service Unit (WSU) on Crisp Road near Palou Avenue in the Bayview, according to the San Francisco Police Department. The investigators are still looking for at least one more suspect.
Wearing an ankle monitor, Romero was arrested without incident and booked into the San Francisco County Jail. He was charged with battery, a probation violation, conspiracy, first-degree robbery, auto theft and two counts of kidnapping.
In January 2020, Romero was charged with robbery and spent 135 days in jail. He and other suspects were accused of stealing another man’s bag, according to San Francisco Chronicle.
In August 2020, Romero was found in a stolen car, arrested and charged again. As a term of his release, he was required to wear an electronic GPS device.