Things That Matter

Police Arrest Family Member For Arson In San Diego House Fire That Killed Three, Hospitalized Two

We’ve seen countless of true crime stories in which families are horrifically killed in their homes. Whether they were killed in an accident, or while being robbed, there’s just no way to make sense of these awful crimes. What makes these crimes worse is when someone close to the family commits the crime against their loved ones. That’s what family and friends are dealing with this week in San Diego — now that a suspect has been arrested in connection with a fatal crime against an entire family. 

San Diego Police have arrested  26-year-old Wilber Romero in connection to a house fire that killed his father, mother, and sister.

Credit: ABC 10 News / YouTube

On Oct. 13, just before 5 a.m., a house fire tore through the home of the Romero family in Logan Heights in San Diego, California. Initially, only one person pronounced dead at the scene. The rest of the family members were taken to the hospital.

In the end, the Romero family lost their 44-year-old Jose Antonio Romero, his wife 46-year-old Nicalasa Maya-Romero, and their daughter, 21-year-old sister Iris “Krystal” Romero.  Another younger brother, 16-year-old Angel, and sister 23-year-old Wendy remain in the hospital, but both are expected to be released soon. 

Their eldest son, Wilber, escaped the fire unharmed and was interviewed by news outlets in which he said he tried to rescue his family. He also denied any involvement in the crime.

Credit: CBS8 / YouTube

“My dogs were jumping on me, trying to wake me up. I woke up. When I woke up, my bed was on fire,” Wilber said to ABC10. “I jumped out of bed and started screaming the house is on fire.”

A day after investigators interviewed him, Wilber said that he didn’t have anything to do with the fire that killed his mother, father, and sister.  He said he would have never committed such a crime against his own family.  “You can lock me up, but you’re not going to take me in for me to say this: ‘I did it,'” he said directly into the camera in an interview with CBS8. “I’m not going to say it because I didn’t do it.”

Witnesses also say they saw people trying to escape the house, but the windows had protective bars on them. The flames were too intense for anyone to go inside to help the family.

Credit: ABC 10 News / YouTube

Iris “Krystal” Romero, 21, died days later in the hospital due to her sustained injuries. According to new reports, Krystal used herself as a shield to protect her younger brother. Wendy Romero survived the fire but is in critical condition in the hospital. Media reports say that she tried to break free with so much intent that she broke her fingers. 

“I thought it was like a scary movie,” Jamie Felix, a family friend who witnessed the fire, told a local NBC News affiliate. “I thought it was a nightmare, honestly. I’m just like, ‘This is not real. This is not really happening.'” Wilber seemed to be lucky to have survived the fire unharmed. 

The Greater Antioch Church of God In Christ, which is located next to the Romero home, held a vigil for the family even though they did not attend the church. Wilber was also in attendance and according to NBC News San Diego, he thanked everyone for their support. However, police now say he is the lead suspect in the crime after investigators questioned him. 

Wilber is now facing charges of arson, first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Credit: GoFundMe

“It’s tragic,” Lauren Garibay, a family friend, told the San Diego Tribune. “Right now, we are wrapping our heads around it. It’s unbelievable.”

Over the weekend, family and friends gathered in front of the Romero home to raise money for funeral costs and the orphaned children with car wash fundraisers. They have also launched a Gofundme account and are asking for $30,000. So far, they have almost $17,000. 

I donated because my heart breaks for the surviving family members and I pray the Lord gives them the strength to get through the days ahead by His love and the love of the people around them,” a commenter wrote on their Gofundme age. 

News reports say the Romero family had lived in San Diego for 15 years and are originally from Guerrero, Mexico. 

Credit: GoFundMe

“They’re good people. Like everybody around the neighborhood knows them. They’re, like, known around here. They’re just decent, good, regular human being people,” their neighbor Jamie Felix told NBC News San Diego

If you’d like to help the Romero family with funeral costs, click here

READ: A City Claims A Family Can’t Sue Over A Wrongful Death Because Undocumented People Don’t Have Rights Under Constitution

The Dine and Dash of $11 Worth of Chalupas Left One Woman With Almost $500 in Fines and a Felony Conviction

Culture

The Dine and Dash of $11 Worth of Chalupas Left One Woman With Almost $500 in Fines and a Felony Conviction

tacobell / Instagram

With the advent of cuisines like Tex Mex or “Latin-Fusion” cuisines, it can be difficult to find good, authentic Mexican food out in the wild. Especially when so many non-Latinx Americans considers “authentic” Mexican food to be fast-food joints like Taco Bell and Del Taco. It’s practically a universal right for Mexican abuelas to grumble about how disgusting Americanized Mexican food is. And can we blame them? Sure, we love a Crunch Wrap Supreme as much as the next person, but the fast-food twists on Mexican classics give non-Mexicans a warped perception of what true Mexican food actually tastes like. 

And apparently, this problem has become so bad that one particular argument over the authenticity of a certain Mexican food item went all the way up to the Indiana Court of Appeals. The seedy story involves a chalupa, an argument, and an unpaid bill.

Credit: @hotforfood/Instagram

Los Amigos, an Indiana restaurant specializing in “authentic” Mexican food, took a woman named Jennifer Peru to court because she refused to pay for a chalupa that she claimed wasn’t a real chalupa.

On its surface, we can understand why Culver was confused. The chalupas that are sold at Taco Bell are described as  “a fried tortilla shell, in the shape of a small boat, filled with lots of flavorful ingredients”, and Culver may have been used to that version. But according to Los Amigos’s menu, their chalupa is “a flat tortilla with refried beans, topped with cheese and guacamole salad”. To no one’s suprrise, there is quite a stark contrast between the way a fast food joint approaches making Mexican food in comparison to the way a local, mom-and-pop store would make one. 

Credit: via GoogleMaps

The conflict, which happened on February 6, 2018, became a lot dicier after the restaurant’s manager intervened to attempt to alleviate Ms. Culver’s distress. According to court documents, the manager did everything he was supposed to do according to American standards of customer service. He offered to replace the chalupa, he offered to give Culver something different, and he offered to remove the dish and refund her money. Culver refused his offer and continued her meal with her two children (who had ordered a quesadilla and two drinks, in case you were wondering). 

Credit: via GoogleMaps

But things between Culver and Los Amigos took a turn for the worse after Culver finished her chalupa and quietly tried to leave the restaurant without paying her bill.

According to court records, Culver tried to sneak out of the restaurant by walking “briskly” past the cash register with her two children in tow. But the restaurant manager caught up to Culver in the parking lot before she could make her great escape. After being asked to pay her $11.73 bill, Culver responded that she’s “not paying for that [expletive]”. Because the manager wasn’t one to mess around with, he called the cops on the dine-and-dasher and reported her for theft. 

According to the local police, they called Culver five times asking her to pay for her stolen chalupa, and assured her that if she coughed up $12, the restaurant would not pursue legal action. But apparently, Culver was convinced that she was in the right in this situation. As promised, Los Amigos decided to press charges and Culver was convicted for theft. The charge was then elevated to felony theft after the courts discovered she had a prior conviction for the theft on her record. 

Credit: @livingkool_/Instagram

Ultimately, a jury convicted Culver of a level 6 felony theft, resulting in 120 days on electronic monitoring, and 14 months of probation, and fined a cumulative total of $485.

Culver wasn’t happy with this decision, however, and appealed the conviction in the Indiana Court of Appeals. But the Court of Appeals held up the original conviction, unanimously deciding that Culver had, indeed, unlawfully dined and dashed, veritably stealing from Los Amigos. As of now, the saga has ended. It’s safe to say that Culver learned the lesson of not messing with the manager of an authentic Mexican restaurant. 

According to some brief internet research, this isn’t the first time that Los Amigos has resorted to teaming up with law enforcement in order to combat difficult customers. One particularly salty 2019 Google review of Los Amigos claims that the restaurant stated they “were going to call the cops” if a woman attempted to not pay for her meal after she complained of its quality at the cash register. While the woman claimed she had no intention of doing so, she was still annoyed that the matter was on the verge of being escalated so abruptly. Considering this altercation happened a full year after The Chalupa Incident of 2019, it’s no wonder the staff was on edge. If there’s one thing Los Amigos doesn’t stand for, it’s claims that their food is inauthentic. 

A California Woman Is Considering Charges Against An Apple Employee After He Sent Photo From Her Phone To Himself

Things That Matter

A California Woman Is Considering Charges Against An Apple Employee After He Sent Photo From Her Phone To Himself

Gloria Elisa Fuentes / Facebook

A Bakersfield woman is planning to press legal charges against an Apple store employee who allegedly texted himself a sexual image of the woman from her phone. Gloria Fuentes scheduled an appointment with Apple’s Genius Bar for Nov. 4. She instinctually knew to delete social media apps and bank apps from her phone, knowing her iPhone would be in the hands of a stranger paid to repair her screen. The Apple employee, who she believes is named Nic, messed around with her phone for “quite a while.” She assumed he was just doing his job. Nic tells her that Apple won’t repair the screen, and directs her to her phone provider for further help.

When Fuentes returned home, she noticed that an unknown number was listed in her most recent messages. She views the conversation and “instantly wants to cry.” A single image of a deeply personal nature was sent to the unknown number. Now, she’s pressing charges against the Apple employee.

Gloria Fuentes wants every woman to hear her story, to ensure they, and their daughters, are safe.

Credit: Gloria Elisa Fuentes / Facebook

“”*****PLEASE READ!!!!!!!!*****,” Fuentes shared in a viral Facebook post. “So last night, I went to Apple in the Valley Plaza (Bakersfield, CA) to get my phone screen repaired and I got a tech guy named Nic, although I’m not positive of the name because the workers there were being super unhelpful.” She recalled her intuition to protect her privacy. “So before I went I kind of had this feeling to delete things from my phone. I deleted any app that had any type of financial information or linked to my bank account in any way and also all of my social media apps because I didn’t want them going through them. I also did a backup before I went and then I was going to delete all the pictures from my phone too but forgot because they were texting me that they moved my appointment time up so I was trying to rush over there.”

The employee had asked for her passcode twice, and she didn’t think anything of it. She was there to have the screen’s hardware repaired. 

Fuentes describes how the violation has impacted her sense of safety.

Credit: Gloria Elisa Fuentes / Facebook

“I walk in my house turn on my phone about to text someone and realize there’s a message to an unsaved number!!!!! I open it and instantly wanted to cry!!!” she shared in the vulnerable Facebook post. “This guy went through my gallery and sent himself one of my EXTREMELY PERSONAL pictures that I took for my boyfriend and it had my geolocation on so he also knows where I live!!!” The employee is clearly tech-savvy, and would be aware of how geolocations work. If a man has the audacity to sexually violate a woman in this way, it’s reasonable to fear for her safety.

“AND THIS PICTURE WAS FROM ALMOST A YEAR AGO SO HE HAD TO HAVE SCROLLED UP FOR A WHILE TO GET TO THAT PICTURE being that I have over 5,000 pics in my phone!!!!” she exclaimed. “I could not express how disgusted I felt and how long I cried after I saw this!!”

Fuentes went back to the Bakersfield, California Valley Plaza Apple store to confront the man, who admitted that it was his personal number.

Credit: Apple Valley Plaza (2701 Ming Avenue, Bakersfield, CA) / Facebook

“I went back to the store and confronted him and he admits to me that this was his number but that “he doesn’t know how that pic got sent 🤬!!” she shared. There is no reason why an Apple employee’s personal number should ever be in a customer’s phone, let alone personal photos be shared without consent. “The manager just said he’d look into it,” she said. 

Later, Apple confirmed that the store “immediately launched an internal investigation” and fired the employee.

Fuentes has filed a police report with the Bakersfield Police Department, which is actively investigating grounds for criminal charges.

Credit: Bakersfield Police Department / Facebook

Fuentes makes it clear that she’s sharing her story “because iPhones are like a must-have for teens now and I could just imagine that I’m not the only person he’s done this to and what if he’s done this to someone’s teenage daughter or even any other woman at all!!” What’s worse, is that she isn’t sure how many images he sent himself, and that she has “NO CLUE WTH HES GOING TO DO WITH THEM!!!” 

The mother of three said that she’ll be “pressing legal charges against him.” “This makes me cry thinking about it but I think he needs to be held accountable and anyone else that has had him work on their phone should be aware of the fact that there’s a possibility that he’s done this to them!!”

Bakersfield women, you can call the Bakersfield Police Department at (661) 327-7111.

READ: Senior Border Patrol Officer Gets To Retire After Allegedly Kidnapping And Sexually Assaulting Another Agent