Suspect robs Tempe man after seeing TikTok video showing $50K in Tempe, docs say

Daniel Avila is accused of pulling a gun on a man and demanding money after a family member posted a video showing $50,000 on the kitchen table.
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 12:43 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2023 at 9:42 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A man is facing multiple felonies stemming from an alleged armed robbery that happened earlier this month in Tempe.

According to court documents obtained by Arizona’s Family, Daniel Avila, 25, is accused of first entering a home in Tempe where he pulled a gun on the victim and demanded money in the early morning hours on Feb. 13. Detectives say the victim gave Avila a bag and about $300 before entering another room, accusing a second victim of “illegal activity.” At that point, Avila then reportedly checked drawers and tried to take off into the fenced yard.

Over the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the victim had posted a video showing $50,000 in cash spread over the kitchen table, showing cars in the driveway that surrounded the home. After the robbery, those at the home installed surveillance cameras, which later showed Avila trying to break in again on Feb. 16.

“Through the span of one week, I would say all our family would not sleep,” said Riordan Padilla. He said his 15-year-old cousin posted the videos. The money, which they estimate was about $15,000 in cash, came from a family member’s car sale. He believes the suspect noticed a nearby restaurant and tracked the house down.

Padilla said he was woken up by the suspect with a gun around 3 a.m. “He’s pointing the gun. He’s asking where’s my money and searches me. And he’s going through my room for like 15 minutes. He’s checking the drawers and throwing my clothes on the ground and everything,” he said.

Padilla said he tried to remain calm by making small talk with the robber. “How long have you been a robber for? He said five years,” he said.

However, the suspect became frustrated after asking for cash. Padilla said he did not have any money on him. Moments later, Padilla said the suspect pointed the gun inches away from his face. “Out of one seamless video that took 15, 10 seconds, my life could’ve been taken,” he said.

On Tuesday, police say Avila tried to get into the house again through the sliding door. When officers arrived, they found Avila in the backyard, trying to flee. He jumped into an alley but was then tackled by a sergeant, police said. Court paperwork also reveals that Avila had a loaded handgun in his backpack along with 10 plastic zip-ties.

He was also seen wearing the same hooded sweatshirt shown on security cameras and described by the residents. Avila has been booked into jail on kidnapping, armed robbery and multiple counts of burglary.

Now, Padilla is hoping others will learn from what happened to his family and be careful with what they post on social media. “You never know what could happen, when it would land on the hands of the wrong person,” he said.