Online gamers witness home invasion via webcam

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
Edgardo Martinez By Jennifer Thomas Edgardo Martinez By Jennifer Thomas
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Police are still searching for a suspect in an early morning home invasion in Tempe that was witnessed by online gamers all over the world.

According to Sgt. Steve Carbajal of the Tempe Police Department, two men broke into an apartment in the area north of Elliot and Kyrene roads shortly after 5 a.m. Lt. Mike Pooley said a female victim was online at the time.

The woman, whose name as not been formally released was playing Dota 2, a sequel to an online game called Defense of the Ancients, when the men broke in. The woman is well-known among Dota 2 players and had her Web camera on as part of the game.

"At that point gamers from around the world were watching the home invasion occur while trying to contact the corresponding law enforcement agency," he said.

While the gamers who were online with the woman saw what was happening, they did not know where it was happening.

It was a friend of the woman who called police and sent them to her home.

One of the suspects was still there when officers arrived on the scene, but he fled when they tried to talk to him.

Officers took him into custody after a short foot chase. He has been identified as Edgardo Martinez, 27. He faces charges of armed robbery, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm and theft of a credit card.

The second suspect is still on the loose. He is described as a Hispanic male with scruffy facial hair, wearing a long-sleeve gray shirt and black pants. Police believe he might be carrying a handgun.

Pooley said the woman and a man also in the apartment were not injured and had been locked in a back bedroom during the robbery where they were going to be held until a nearby bank opened. The suspects were going to take the victims to the bank and have them withdraw money.

Several Dota 2 players posted video of the break-in on YouTube. At least one of the suspects stepped into the Web camera's field of view two times. He appeared to be carrying a weapon. In another frame, he bends down behind a chair.

3TV and condensed one of the clips and blurred the victim's face to protect her identity. (See video player above.)

Based on the YouTube clips, the suspects were in the woman's home for nearly 15 minutes before the camera was disconnected.

Although shaken by the incident, the victim was not physically injured.