FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – A man who authorities say threw a woman’s phone in a canal and punched her husband in the face was arrested on elder abuse and other charges, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
According to Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti, on Sept. 21, 2019, a husband and wife who are in their mid-60s, were taking a walk along a canal bank located at De Witt and Lane avenues in Fresno.
They noticed a group of five young adults gathered in this area.
The couple took a closer look and saw one of the men was standing on a canal weir (small dam), holding a screaming child — 2 to 3 years old — over the water.
The man and woman yelled at the man to stop and members of the group confronted both, telling them to mind her own business.
The woman then pulled out her cell phone and started taking photos of the people and their vehicles.
Authorities said the suspect grabbed the woman, took the phone away from her and threw it into the canal. As her husband tried to intervene, the suspect punched him in the face.
All five people and the child got into their cars and drove away. The couple immediately called the Sheriff’s Office and filed a report.
A deputy responded and documented the area of the canal in which the cell phone was thrown in.
On Oct. 8, the Sheriff’s Dive Unit located the phone after a two and a half-hour search.
The Fresno County Irrigation District lowered the water level and partially closed off the weir to make diving conditions safer for deputies.
The water damaged iPhone was sent to a data recovery specialist who was able to make the phone function.
This allowed detectives to retrieve photos, which included images of the suspects and their vehicles.
Detectives identified the suspects and contacted 21-year-old Amilcar Alfaro for his role in taking the phone and punching the man, Botti said.
Alfaro was booked into the Fresno County Jail and is facing felony charges of robbery, battery, elder abuse and committing a felony while on bail. His bail is set at $840,000.
The District Attorney’s Office has filed charges, and Alfaro faces 10 years to life in prison.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Detective Garrett Majors at (559) 600-8711