AUSTIN (KXAN) — Last week, 19-year-old Yale Gerstein was chatting with his girlfriend on FaceTime when three men burst into his Austin apartment and put a gun to his head. Wednesday, two of the suspects were identified by Austin police.
Gerstein says when he tried to open the door the men barged in and started beating him with their pistols. “They were hitting me in the head with the pistol saying ‘face down,’” Gerstein said. “Just don’t get shot, just don’t get shot… that was on my mind.” He was dragged to his bedroom and forced to open a safe.
While still connected on FaceTime, Gerstein’s girlfriend watched helplessly from Dallas as he was pinned down with a gun to his head. A clear view of one of the suspect’s face was recorded.
One of the suspects, Michael Aleman, Jr., is an Austin ISD student in the 10th grade, according to a police affidavit. Suspect Jacob Carter was identified by his mother, who reported him to police after seeing him in media reports. The victim told police he saw the suspects get into a white Crown Victoria sedan in the apartment parking lot. While the third suspect has not been identified, there are warrants out for the arrests of Aleman and Carter.
Gerstein said Wednesday that he’s glad police have confirmed the suspects names. “This gives me a better chance of getting my stuff back.”
He said the robbers stole thousands of dollars worth of music equipment. At a 3 p.m. press conference on Wednesday, APD Robbery Unit Sgt. William White said there is a connection between the suspects and Gerstein, but would not go into details. Sgt. White said Gerstein sent police the Facebook profiles of the suspects, which they used to make a positive match for Aleman.
The sergeant says there was a delay in identifying the suspects because the victim took three days to contact the police department for more information after the initial report. When asked if Gerstein was targeted, Sgt. White said they were not releasing certain details at this time.