The kidnappings all began the same, with an online advertisement to sell a laptop.
Pierce County prosecutors say Charles Cabrera pulled it off four times in the last two months.
According to prosecutors, the 28-year-old would post the ad online and ask interested buyers to meet him at various Tacoma locations.
Once they met, court documents say, Cabrera would get inside the victim’s car to show off the laptop, then pull a gun and demand their money and cellphones.
On two of the occasions, he forced the victims to drive to ATM machines and withdraw money before stealing their vehicles, court records show.
Cabrera pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three counts of first-degree kidnapping, four counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of attempted first-degree kidnapping and one count of possession of a stolen vehicle.
He was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Cabrera was arrested Monday after an officer recognized a sedan that had been reported stolen.
Police say the officer tried to pull the car over, but the driver sped away, hit an embankment and fence, and ran into a nearby backyard.
When he was taken into custody shortly afterward, Cabrera said he’d recently bought the car off Craigslist. Police said they found heroin and cocaine on him.
Court documents give this account:
The first robbery and kidnapping happened Dec. 29. The victim handed over a wallet and cellphone before managing to escape from his own van and run away.
The van later was found abandoned with the dashboard ripped out.
Cabrera did it again Dec. 30, when another person responded to his ad about a laptop. That victim was forced to withdraw money from several ATMs before he was released.
The next holdup took place Jan. 2. The victim was forced to go to an ATM, but had no money in his bank account and was released unharmed.
The last was Jan. 7, when Cabrera and an unidentified man forced their way into another man’s car while pretending to sell him a laptop.
The man was held at gunpoint before he was forced to go to an ATM.
“They held him at gunpoint in the car and told him that they had a third person who was watching his home in case he failed to cooperate with them,” records show.
None of the victims was hurt.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653