DeAndre Baker went from trying to strip the football out of receivers’ hands to stripping watches off people’s wrists at gunpoint, according to recently-unsealed documents obtained by the Daily News.
The police documents, which include victims and witness testimonies and information obtained from search warrants by cops as well as surveillance and body cam footage and detective notes, allege the now-former Giants cornerback suffered a huge loss in a high-stakes dice game on May 12, tried to steal it back that night — and returned with a firearm the next evening to rob the game’s big winner and three others at a Miramar, Fla., gambling party.
He allegedly “put a gun in (an) old man’s face” and started “stripping” watches and robbing cash, turning the planned May 13 celebration into a chaotic dash for the doorways, the police documents show.
The four alleged victims and a witness also say they heard rumors that a six-figure murder contract was later sought against the victims to ensure they would never testify, the documents reveal.
“Baker pulled the gun. Baker’s the first one that pulled — that upped the gun,” a man identified as Victim 3 in the documents recounts of the surreal May 13 robbery in an interview with police. “It was like he was playing in a movie or something.”
The News reviewed almost 200 pages of documents released in the case against Baker, 23, who faces four charges of armed robbery with a firearm at his Jan. 20, 2021 arraignment. The most chilling takeaway is the obvious fear multiple victims felt in the days after the alleged heist.
That’s when the victims allegedly took a May 15 payoff from witness Dominic Johnson — an associate of Baker and Baker’s alleged accomplice, Seattle Seahawks corner Quinton Dunbar — to recant their original testimony on Dunbar at the office of Dunbar’s former attorney, Michael Grieco.
“(People) was already telling us, you know, if we have to come to Miami and go to court, we wouldn’t make it through the court (hearing),” said Victim 3. “That was the threats that we were getting … And the guys are going to have you guys killed coming down here to court.”
Several victims said word on the street cited a $100,000 “contract … on our heads.” Victim 4 claimed he heard Baker’s father went to a local “American gangster” named Blok to insure the witnesses would “hush-up and shut-up.” A detective says he was told the local bad guy was related to Dunbar, who was arrested with Baker but dodged prosecution due to “insufficient evidence.”
“The name Blok came up numerous times by the victims, as they stated they were in fear for their lives because of this person,” police write. “It was told to this detective that Blok was related to Dunbar and was affiliated with the South Florida gangs. This could not be corroborated.”
Text messages allegedly lifted from Johnson’s iCloud account even show one person texting to Johnson that “Block gone f----- dre up” — Dre being DeAndre Baker — over the alleged robbery.
Victim 3 says the eyewitness Johnson, who also feared for his life, relayed the story of the six-figure bounty. Johnson is the witness allegedly on surveillance videotape orchestrating a pay-off to the alleged victims at Grieco’s office.
“That’s why when we … left that lawyer’s office, that’s when we left town,” explained Victim 3.
The clearest depiction of their collective fear gleaned from the pile of paperwork was Victim 2’s answer to why, in surveillance video of the elevator ride to Grieco’s office, he raised his phone as the lawyer held something up.
“I took a picture of his I.D. ’cause I felt kind of suspicious,” Victim 2 said. “ ‘Cause I watch movies, man. I was just like man, we (might) end up coming out of the elevator and getting killed … I just took a picture and I sent it to my wife.”
Victim 2 had more reason than anyone to fear for his life. When police arrived at the scene of the alleged May armed robbery, three of the four victims independently claimed that Baker delivered a lethal directive to one of his alleged accomplices regarding Victim 2: “Shoot him.”
Baker’s accomplice did not fire his gun.
According to the documents, Baker allegedly lost money gambling on May 12 and took it back by force at gunpoint the next night. He was playing in a big-money dice game with Victim 1 at the Quality Inn in Hollywood, Fla., with close to $100,000 at stake inside the crowded hotel suite, the documents allege.
Victim 1, known as the “old man,” says he won big before walking to the front of the hotel to meet a friend who was driving his car. But when the friend pulled up, he frantically urged Victim 1 to climb inside.
“I said, man, what’s the big rush?” Victim 1 recalled. “He said, ‘Man, them guys was about to rob you, Dre is telling them to take his money back’ … When he walked to the back he heard Deandre Baker (say) tell them to get his money back … He said, Dre just said coming down the stairs, (that he) told them to rob you.
“So we pulled off, we jetted out of there. I escaped a robbery that night by — I mean by an inch.”
The next night, Victim 1 says he wasn’t so lucky.
The old man recounted fleeing the house inside a gated Miramar community on May 13 and hopping “seven or eight fences” after Baker allegedly robbed him at gunpoint in the dining room over a card game.
But the documents also contain details likely helpful to Baker’s defense. The paperwork notes three of the four victims have “extensive criminal histories.” And Victim 4 acknowledges hearing there was “cheating” going on in the May 12 game at the Quality Inn.
Baker’s attorney did contact the Miramar Police on May 15, as he has claimed, to inform detectives that “he was receiving phone calls from an unidentified third party requesting money so the victims/witnesses could recant their statements.”
Lawyer Bradford Cohen “stated he has learned through his investigator about a group of individuals that scam professional athletes and their modus operandi is similar to what transpired at this residence,” according to the documents.
And Victim 4’s physical description of Baker is wildly inconsistent during three separate interviews. He also says of Baker and Dunbar: “I didn’t know who they were at that time … cause you know they’re not like Tom Brady or nothing,” though he then realized who he is “(be)cause he just signed with Cash Money and Lil Wayne.”
Rapper Lil Wayne indeed is the CEO of the agency that represents Baker, Young Money APAA Sports.
Two weeks after the alleged robbery on May 27, Victim 4 says: “Baker, the light-skinned one with the little dreads.” A detective corrects Victim 4 and says Baker’s hair is short. And Victim replies, “I don’t know these guys, and I’m probably getting ’em mixed up.”
The defense also has two additional witnesses who signed affidavits saying Baker had no gun and wasn’t involved. But when questioned by police, both witnesses admit they left the party when the commotion started and couldn’t be sure what had occurred. One says “I assume” Baker wasn’t involved.
In addition to the victim testimony, police say cell phone location data places Baker at the Quality Inn on May 12, at the robbery scene in Miramar on May 13, and in Miami when the alleged payoff occurred at Grieco’s office on May 15 — though Baker’s attorney told investigators he was with him most of that day.
Newly-discovered text messages released by police, which Johnson sent hours after the alleged robbery in Miramar, Fla., echo what victims told police about that night: Dunbar had worked in tandem with Baker, aka “Dre.”
“Bra how about Dre them just robbed the dice game. Dunbar told them n----- do that,” Johnson wrote in a group text on May 14 at 1 a.m., about two hours after the robbery. Talking about Baker, he texted: “Yes his n----- did the dirty work and he had his gun out to telling n----- to shoot people (sic). … Dre and Dunbar was directing it.”
Johnson was interviewed on the scene by police at 2:13 a.m. on May 14, meaning he sent the recovered texts from the scene immediately after the alleged incident.
The day of the alleged payoff — which the alleged victims say totaled $60,000 — Baker allegedly told Johnson via Instagram: “Yo I’m in the city now getting cash how much to bring ?? I’m tryna get there too u ASAP.” Baker follows up with “????” and then stops communicating when Johnson tells him the address instead of an amount of money.
It’s significant, too, that it’s not just the alleged victims claiming Baker pulled a gun. Johnson, who says he’s known Baker and Dunbar since they were children, told police that Baker pulled out his weapon at the party. Johnson also called Baker while responding officers were on scene and even put a detective on the phone with Baker, the police documents say.
According to Victim 1, there was an initial attempt to set things right that fell apart: “The police called Dre and told Dre (to) give us our stuff back and everything will be good. I said Dre wouldn’t give us our stuff back, what were we supposed to do?”
Johnson, in the days after the robbery, allegedly stressed how much danger everyone was in.
“Everybody in Miami knows that these guys don’t play, man,” Victim 1 recounted Johnson telling him. “They’re going to go free anyway and we can never come back to Miami again. He was like man, ‘I’m telling you these guys man, you know, they just ain’t no NFL guys, man, man. These guys gangsters.”
At the scene, police asked Victim 2 what took them so long to call the police. An officer’s report says he responded at 12:20 a.m. on May 14 to an alleged robbery that had occurred 45 minutes prior. Video surveillance allegedly shows seven vehicles speeding away from the house at 11:09 p.m., indicating the incident happened more than an hour before officers responded.
Asked by police about the long lapse, Victim 2 replied, “Because I wanted to get ’em. I said, ‘Where’s the address?’ … I’m from L.A., I’m from California, we ain’t calling no police. What’s his address?”
But Johnson urged them to call the police rather than try to handle the situation themselves.
So what happened to prompt them to call the police? Here, for the first time, is an account of the night of May 13, assembled from the testimony and evidence gathered by investigators.
Johnson allegedly organized the May 13 gambling party inside a rented home. Victim 3 recounted getting an invitation from Victim 1 to join “these football guys” to celebrate a player getting traded from Washington to Seattle, as Dunbar was.
CCTV video evidence from the entrance/exit gate house of the Sunset Lakes HOA community shows three vehicles enter at 7:25 p.m., including a white Lamborghini registered to Dunbar and driven by him that night. Between 8:20 p.m. and 8:23 p.m., five more vehicles pass the gate house, including a Mercedes SUV and a gray BMW.
The three getaway vehicles later described to police are a white Lamborghini truck, a black Mercedes Benz G wagon, and a gray BMW. Victim 3 says he had brought his TV over to the house earlier so people could play the “Madden” NFL video game, and that he’d left to go fishing. He returned after hearing the NFL players were coming.
“I’m thinking there’s gonna be some girls there,” he said. “NFL guys? They’ll bring some hot chicks. And I get there, and there’s 20 guys sitting in front of a video game.”
Victim 3 says people were playing games of Madden for $1,000 a pot before the gambling switched to dice and cards. The witnesses placed Baker, Dunbar, Johnson, someone named “Shy” and a fourth “mystery man” in a red mask with the victims at the party.
Later in the evening, Victim 3 says he was standing in the kitchen, eating chicken and watching a card game while a dice game was simultaneously going on. Victim 4 recounts standing outside grilling steaks and chicken when one of Baker’s friends lost $6,000 to Victim 1 and things turned ugly.
“Boom … they went crazy,” he recounted. “They lost some money, and the s--- hit the fan.”
Someone at the table accused Victim 1 of cheating, with Baker and Shy flipping a table over before the Giants player demanded some answers.
“He said, ‘Who’s cheating?’ He pulled out his gun,” recounted Victim 3. “(Baker) says … Oh, oh, this is how we’re doing it — this is how we’re doing it?’”
Victim 4 says there were rumors Baker believed he’d been cheated out of $60,000 or $70,000 the night before at the Quality Inn, while Victim 3 says there “probably” were loaded dice used in the May 12 hotel room incident. Victim 4 said the players “came back this time ready” for any more cheating — with Baker and Shy both pulling guns.
Baker “put a gun in the old man’s face” and “took all his money out of his hand,” recounted Victim 3. The “old man” surrendered $600 in cash and Baker grabbed a watch from his wrist, stuffing the stolen property in his pants pocket.
Victim 3 says Victim 1 protested there was no way he could have been cheating because he’d just lost $40,000 himself. And Victim 1 recounts that Dunbar was directing people on what to take from the others at the card game.
“In your opinion, who was basically working together?” a detective asked Victim 1.
“Both of those ball players,” he replied.
After Baker robbed Victim 1, Victim 3 says, “Deandre walked over to me and say(s), ‘How much money you got … You’re part of this.’ And I said, ‘I ain’t have nothing to do with this.’ He took my watch … a black stainless steel AP Audemars Piguet (that he valued at $17,500).”
He says Baker also took $4,000 in cash. Victim 4 had just entered from the back door with the food and says Baker order the man in the red mask to “get him.” Victim 4 was robbed of around $700 or $800 and a “two tone Rolex Daytona” watch valued at around $18,000.
And then the night almost turned lethal.
Victim 2 says he was at the front of the house when the commotion started and everyone fled for the door. He walked back to check on his pals and recalled that “Dre told his friend to shoot me.” Two of the victims said the order was delivered to the man in the mask.
No shots were fired, but he was supposedly stripped of $7,000 in cash and a gold Hublot worth $25,000.
At different times, in addition to implicating Baker, the victims told police that Dunbar told Baker to do the shooting and that Shy told Baker to shoot. But as Victim 4 explained, the whole scene was chaotic.
“They weren’t professional robbers,” he says. “They didn’t secure the house. They didn’t control nobody. People was moving everywhere, coming out the back door, jumping over fences. (Victim 1) came out and jumped over the fence. You get what I’m saying?”
Baker’s attorneys are questioning the validity of any victim statements, claiming they were willing to change stories on Dunbar in exchange for cash. Baker’s attorneys are also charging this was an extortion attempt, although comments from the alleged victims challenge the assertion.
One of the victims recalled that Johnson initially suggested meeting at a “real dangerous” strip club in Little Haiti, but he demanded a safer locale.
“I said, ‘It has to be a lot of white people in order for me to come,” he recounted.
What sticks out most remains the victims’ collective disbelief that two NFL players were involved. Days later, as they spoke with investigators, they were still dumbfounded.
“When DeAndre Baker pulled out that gun, he looked like one of the guys in the projects that I see,” recounted Victim 3. “It was like he was playing in a movie or something … We were — (in) our minds … we’re blown away from the start. Like this fool really pulled out a gun on us. And we’re the gangsters, you know what I mean?”
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