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November 29, 2023

Police quickly arrest armed robbery suspects

WATSONVILLE—Two teens were arrested Aug. 11 on suspicion of armed robbery just minutes after they fled a business on Freedom Boulevard.

Noe Rocha, supervisor of the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team, said officers initially spotted two suspicious teens who appeared to be tucking something into their waistbands around just after 7pm prior to the robbery. A few minutes later a call came over the police radio of a robbery of a 99 Cent Store by two males armed with handguns on the corner of Miles Lane at Freedom Boulevard.

SCACT members then spotted the pair charging from the store, one with a weapon tucked in his waistband.

Rocha said police then got into a brief foot pursuit through the Pioneer Cemetery and caught up with one youth near the Burger King on Freedom Boulevard.

After stopping him at gunpoint, police found an AirSoft gun on him, according to Rocha. Moments later SCACT members chased down the other outstanding suspect nearby. Rocha said his team searched the suspect’s backpack and found a BB gun and possible stolen goods from the 99 Cent store. 

Both suspects were charged with armed robbery. Rocha said the entire episode took about five minutes. 

Meanwhile, Rocha added, SCACT members took a loaded gun off the street after they came upon a group of four males on Tierra Vista Lane off of Harkins Slough Road on Saturday. Rocha said that as police approached the quartet, who were drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, one took off on foot but was chased and caught. That’s when police searched a car belonging to one of them where they reportedly found a loaded gun.

The car owner was taken into custody for probation violation and on suspicion of being in possession of a loaded firearm. 

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.



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