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September 26, 2022

Robbery suspects caught after chase ends on Highway 17

CENTRAL COAST—A man and a woman were arrested Saturday night following a brazen string of robberies of several CVS stores in multiple counties.

Lt. Patrick Dimick of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said Coryeon Wyatt, 18, and Keoinjhanie Russell, 21—both of San Jose—were caught off of Highway 17 in Santa Cruz following a high speed chase with several law agencies.

The drama began in Santa Cruz County just after 8pm when deputies responded to the report of a robbery at CVS in Aptos. That robbery followed a previous one by the same suspects at the CVS in Watsonville Square (Nob Hill) on Main Street shortly before. Two suspects reportedly entered the stores, filled bags with nicotine gum, cigarettes and nicotine lozenges, then they threatened the staff before leaving with the items, Dimick said. 

Witnesses saw the suspects flee in a gray Ford Taurus. Deputies then spotted the Taurus driving on Highway 1 at Morrissey Boulevard and a pursuit ensued. The Taurus had mechanical problems and stopped on Highway 17 with flames and smoke issuing from under the hood. Both suspects jumped from the car and charged off on foot. 

Deputies managed to capture Wyatt within minutes. However, Russell bolted deep into the wooded area and eluded deputies. But when a CHP helicopter moved into the area and hovered low, Russell jumped out of a tree and was taken into custody. 

“With the assistance of the CHP,  Scotts Valley PD, Santa Cruz PD and California State Parks Rangers, both suspects were eventually taken into custody,” Dimick said.  

The stolen items from the store, a “ghost” handgun and a stolen handgun were recovered from the Taurus. 

Wyatt and Russell were both arrested for charges including robbery, firearms charges, conspiracy and warrants from other counties. Both are suspected of similar crimes in San Jose, and similar style crimes that occurred earlier in the evening at CVS stores in Salinas and Prunedale. 

“Thank you to the public for providing information that was crucial in apprehending these criminals,” Dimick said.

tobacco cvs robbery
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies seized these tobacco-related goods and two guns Saturday night from two suspects who reportedly robbed a string of CVS stores, including one in Watsonville. Contributed photo
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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