Police say Rhode Island, Norwich home invasions are linked

Norwich — A woman arrested last month for a home invasion in Rhode Island in which two people were shot is implicated in court records in a 2013 Norwich home invasion and robbery.

Norwich police say that Vathna Keo used his ex-girlfriend, Vypatda Sophan, of Providence, as bait for a victim who called for an escort service for sex in November 2013. Shortly after Sophan went to the house on Corning Road, three armed, masked men arrived, tied up and robbed the victim and left him in a bathroom, fearing for his life.

Sophan, who was an exotic dancer at The Cadillac Lounge in Providence, was arrested last month in Providence along with another stripper. Both are accused of luring a man out of his Providence home so that three armed men could rob him. The man and his daughter were shot but are expected to survive, Providence police said.

Sophan is currently in custody in Rhode Island. Keo was arrested Tuesday in Norwich.

In the Norwich case, Keo, 20, of Providence was charged with conspiracy to commit home invasion, home invasion, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, first-degree robbery, accessory to first-degree kidnapping, first-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit third-degree larceny, third-degree larceny, two counts of accessory to stealing a firearm, two counts of stealing a firearm and first-degree promoting prostitution.

In investigating the Norwich incident, police uncovered Facebook links that led to several people allegedly involved in both the Norwich and Providence crimes.

Norwich police gave these details: Shortly after midnight on Nov. 28, police went to investigate a reported home invasion. The victim at first said that one hour earlier, an Asian woman with blonde hair, wearing a black jumpsuit, told him that her car had broken down after she left a local casino and that she needed to use his phone to get a ride back to Rhode Island. The woman, he said, sat down on his couch. Suddenly, three men wearing black ski masks and gloves and holding guns barged through the door, the warrant says.

The victim told police he is a gun owner and knew the guns were real. He said all three men yelled, "Where's the money?"

He said the men made him strip down to his underwear. They searched his pants for money. When they did not find what they were looking for, the victim said, he heard one of the males "chamber" a round into his gun and again demand money. The men bound his hands and ankles and made him get into a hot tub.

"The victim believed they were going to drown him or shoot him in the hot tub," the warrant says.

The men then ordered the victim into the shower. After about 30 minutes, when he didn't hear any more noise, he told police, he was able to free his hands and then himself.

The victim told police that the men stole his wallet containing personal and business credit cards, his cellphone, a zippered money bag containing $2,300 in cash, a Taurus PT99 9 mm handgun and a Star PD .45 caliber handgun. He said he got in his car and drove around looking for his belongings, including his cellphone, because his phone lines were cut. When he didn't find them, he said he used a garage telephone to call police.

Some of his story changed when police spoke to the victim again on Dec. 2. At that point, the victim said he had ordered female escorts in the past through a woman called "Felicia" at a Rhode Island number. He said he had sex with Felicia numerous times, having found her number on a website that lists eastern Connecticut escorts.

On the day of the robbery, Felicia stopped responding to texts, but a woman he didn't know called, and he set up a date for later that day. This woman sent him a message that sex would cost $1,000.

Police obtained cellphone records and were able to trace the number for "Felicia" to Sophan Aing of Providence. Norwich Sgt. John Perry set up a Facebook account under a fictitious name and sent friend requests to Aing and his son, Suphearoth Aing, which were accepted. On Suphearoth's timeline, police found an Asian female matching the victim's description of the woman who came to his home. Her Facebook name was listed as "Chinx Drugz," and she said on her page that she was Suphearoth Aing's sister.

On Jan. 31, on Facebook, Perry asked Suphearoth Aing if he knew of any "dancer clubs" or owners that would hire performers. Suphearoth Aing said his sister, Vida, was a dancer at the Cadillac Lounge and suggested sending a friend request to her, the warrant says. Perry sent the request to "Chinx Drugz," and she accepted it. The woman had posted photos of herself on numerous escort sites, Perry said.

A week later, Perry telephoned Suphearoth Aing and identified himself as a police officer. Aing said his sister's name was Vypatda Sophan, and that he had very little contact with her. Perry called Sophan, who refused to meet with him and told him that she had never been to Connecticut.

On Feb. 10, the victim reported he was searching escorts sites for the woman who had robbed him and found her picture. Perry recognized the image as Vypatda Sophan. Police said the cellphone she was using to arrange dates belonged to Keo's father.

Perry then texted a man named Tommy Bun, whom Sophan was dating. Thinking Perry was the victim in the Norwich case, Bun told him he could get his guns back. Perry was able to develop information that the men involved in the robbery were Keo, Orlando Luciano and Victor Tan-Chen.

Perry traveled on July 17 to the Providence Police Department, where Sophan was in custody in connection with the home invasion there. Sophan said Keo was acting as her pimp and texted the Norwich victim to arrange the date. Sophan said she left for the victim's house with Keo, Luciano, Tan-Chen and another man, Miguel Perez. Luciano and Perez were also arrested in the Providence home invasion.

Sophan said she entered the victim's house and said the man was waving a gun. She said she left after about 30 minutes and saw three masked men enter the house.

She said she left in a car with Perez. She told Perry that she was "pretty sure they planned it without letting me know so I wouldn't get scared," the warrant says.

Norwich police arrested Tan-Chen, of Westerly, on Aug. 20. He faces the same charges as Keo. He is expected to appear in Norwich Superior Court Sept. 11.

Keo is expected to appear in Norwich Superior Court on Sept. 10. He has not been arrested in the Providence case.

Twitter: @larraneta


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