ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – We have an update about the beating of man who investigators say is an illegal immigrant. Limestone County sheriff’s investigators say 48-year old Sergio Vega was severely beaten and robbed near his Limestone County home. Many like him are no doubt afraid to contact police when they witness or are victims of a crime for fear they’ll be deported. However, Vega did report the crime and today investigators returned what was left of the money allegedly stolen from him. Vega, meanwhile, spoke exclusively to WHNT News 19 in hopes of reaching out to others like him who may be afraid of police.
Vega is the victim of a crime. Investigators say Sunday he was attacked by two men, one armed with a baseball bat, after going to a neighbor’s apartment to help her get groceries for her children. Limestone County sheriff’s investigator Leslie Ramsey says the men took over three thousand dollars from Vega believing he would be afraid to report the offense because of his status as an undocumented immigrant.
But Vega did report the crime, and five people were arrested and charged in connection with the attack and robbery, including the neighbor who lured him to the apartment saying she needed help buying groceries for her children, and the two men accused of beating him and stealing his money.
Investigators say after the robbery, the three suspects went on a shopping spree spending all but $700 of the stolen money. Thursday, Sheriff Mike Blakely and Investigator Ramsey met with Vega and returned the recovered cash, all except a blood-stained one dollar bill being held for evidence.
Vega had been saving his earnings to send to his family still in Mexico. He hoped his teenage daughter would be able to join him soon, but he says that will have to wait now.
Through an interpreter, Vega said he knows many undocumented immigrants refuse to report crimes against them for fear of what the police might do. “He says tell the Hispanic community please not to be scared, if anything happen to them like it happened to him, please let the police know, they’re here to help him,” according to the interpreter.
Vega says he wants to work towards citizenship. Meanwhile, he’ll start saving up again in hopes that his family will be able to join him here.