Public Information Office
HOW ANALYSTS AT THE VOLUSIA COUNTY CRIME CENTER HELPED SOLVE THE ‘BATMAN ROBBERIES’
Two women suspected of committing a series of armed robberies last month in Ormond Beach were asleep in a Honda Civic parked in front of a Walmart on Sunday morning when Ormond Beach police officers spotted the car and closed in to arrest them.
The road that led police to that Honda Civic started with a single grainy surveillance image and a room full of crime analysts at the Volusia County Crime Center, where combined efforts of technological and investigative resources are helping to solve cases across Volusia County.
“This is just the new year’s first example of what our Crime Center can do to help deputies and police officers put criminals behind bars in Volusia County,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “When you combine our intelligence work with the kind of diligence Ormond Beach PD put into this case, these are the results you’re going to see over and over again.”
In the Batman cases, Ormond Beach police detectives had surveillance images of a masked suspect and suspect vehicle, but neither were clearly identifiable. Initially, it was believed the knife-wielding suspect was male. Analysts at the VCCC, or “VC3,” investigated to determine the exact year, make and model of the vehicle in the photo. From there, they determined that two women – 33-year-old Wateka Thomason and 31-year-old Cassandra Raffa – had been contacted recently in a vehicle that matched perfectly.
Investigating further, Crime Center analysts found images on social media of Thomason and Raffa each wearing Batman clothing.
VC3 gives all law enforcement officers in Volusia County access to real-time intelligence and support from a team of analysts. The center is tied into traffic cameras, security cameras, license-plate readers and other instant sources of information throughout the county. In addition to providing real-time support to law enforcement during in-progress calls, VC3 analysts continually assist in active criminal cases with investigative leads that may help identify or locate a suspect or support probable cause for an arrest.
Ormond Beach PD’s investigation into the Batman robberies remains ongoing, but Thomason and Raffa are each being held without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail. Thomason’s charges include armed robbery, petit theft and trespassing. Raffa’s include principal to armed robbery, principal to petit theft, trespassing and obstruction by a disguised person.
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4589 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151