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Distinct Face Tattoo Leads to Arrest

The Record

June 01, 2011

STOCKTON — A bold gang tattoo of the number 14 inked on a Stockton man’s face turned out to be the identifying mark that led investigators to a suspected carjacker, a prosecutor said.

Vincent Torres, 26, and brother 22-year-old Raymond Torres now await potential life prison sentences after a jury found them guilty of charges stemming from the Dec. 12, 2008, crime.

It was the tattoo that helped investigators find the suspect and sealed the conviction at trial, San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Mark Ott said. The number represents the 14th letter in the alphabet, standing for Norte?/span>

“If you tattoo your identification on your face, you can’t complain when you’re identified by it,” Ott said of the elder Torres. “This is a unique tattoo.”

In the crime three years ago, Ott said the two brothers — members of a local Norte?ang — accosted three people sitting in a car parked near the Walgreens on Wilson Way in Stockton.

A fourth victim managed to run away and call Stockton police, who quickly caught up with the carjackers. One of the brothers held a gun to the driver’s head, Ott said.

While officers arrested Raymond Torres immediately, Vincent Torres escaped. A victim identified him in a photo lineup, in which he stood out because of the uncommon tattooed face, Ott said.

The gang prosecutor said he is aware of only one other local gang member with such a tattoo and, at the time, he was locked up in a youth prison.

A jury on April 29 found the pair guilty of carjacking, kidnapping to commit robbery, street terrorism and robbery with a firearm.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge George Abdallah, who oversaw the trial, is scheduled to sentence the Torres brothers June 13.

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