AUSTIN (KXAN) - A man and a woman have been arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy to commit obstruction and retaliation after they were heard plotting with a man already in jail against the victim of the initial crime. They allegedly wanted to stop the victim from testifying against the jailed man, identified as Thomas Gardner.
Gardner was arrested on Sept. 6 for the charge of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. He was allegedly part of a pair who attacked and robbed a woman in the parking lot of a game room located in the 12000 block of Research Boulevard on June 30.
Austin Police Department arrested Denise Lane Knapp, 19, and James Dale Bradford, 25, based on phone conversations between Gardner and Knapp, which robbery unit detectives had been monitoring with Gardner still in jail. According to the affidavit, Knapp is the woman Gardner lived with before he was jailed, and is the mother of his child.
Knapp and Gardner allegedly talked on the phone calls about having "James" setting up surveillance of the place where the victim works and making contact with the victim. Bradford is Knapp's brother-in-law. Officials said the evidence included Bradford's voice heard in the background during calls between Gardner and Knapp, and details of plans against the victim discussed among all three.
The conversations between them included information about the crime that only the victim and the attackers would know, according to police. The trio allegedly talked of possible threats they could make against the victim.
The victim told police she was assaulted and robbed by two masked men who struck her in the head with an unknown blunt object, stole her purse, money and cellphone in the parking lot of a game room. The victim pursued the suspects by car and was involved in a collision with their vehicle, where one of the suspects pulled a handgun on the victim. The suspects fled on foot and left their vehicle with the victim's stolen property still inside.
Detectives identified the suspects' vehicle as one that Gardner used in other incidents where he was known to be the driver, according to the affidavit. Police were also able to lift latent fingerprints from the victim's cellphone that belonged to Gardner, which led to his arrest.
Knapp and Bradford remain in jail on $30,000 bond each, with GPS systems attached to them. They are ordered to have no contact with the victim and stay at least 200 yards away from her.
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