Four teens lead officers on 2 car chases after several armed robberies in Tulare County


Four teenagers allegedly robbed several Tulare County businesses in October and November, lead officers on two lengthy, high-speed vehicle chases and were all arrested after a four-day investigation.

​​​Porterville police says it all started on Oct. 30 around 9 p.m. when officers responded to an armed robbery of a business in the 1200 block of West Olive Avenue.

Two masked suspects, armed with guns, made off with an undisclosed amount of money, a department news release says. 

On Nov. 1 around 1:20 a.m., officers responded to a similar incident in the 400 block of West Poplar Avenue.

Again, the suspects are said to have been masked, armed and took off with an undisclosed amount of money and merchandise.

Police say the suspects fled in a vehicle westbound on Poplar Avenue.

Officers then located a suspicious vehicle who they believed to be the suspects, and attempted to stop the car.

The suspects kept driving and a chase began.

The chase traveled through Lindsay, initiating the help of the Lindsay Police Department, Tulare County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol.

However, the suspects got away, police say. But, a second suspicious vehicle was located and officers attempted to make contact, and a second car chase began.

The chase ended with a single-vehicle traffic collision and the driver, Ernesto Herrera, 18, was determined to be an involved suspect in the robberies.

Further investigation led detectives to a home in Lindsay, where Nicholas Oviedo, 18, was located and arrested while he was attempting to report his vehicle as stolen after police say it had been used in the robbery just hours before.

Later that day, Oviedo’s vehicle was located abandoned in an orange grove in the same area the pursuit ended. It contained evidence related to this crime including the weapons used, masks and stolen property.

Through further investigation, detectives say they uncovered direct evidence implicating the third suspect, Angel Navarro, 18, in the robberies.

On Friday around 4:30 PM, Navarro was located in Fresno and was apprehended without incident.

Police say he was directly involved in both robberies and also the driver in the high-speed pursuit.

The final outstanding suspect, a 16-year-old juvenile was located at his residence in Lindsay, and with the assistance of the Lindsay Police Department, he was arrested.

Ultimately, the four-day investigation concluded with the arrest of four suspects and identified their involvement in five separate armed robberies throughout southern Tulare County.

Two of the robberies were committed in the city of Porterville, police say, two in Lindsay and one in the city of Farmersville.

The three adults were booked into Tulare County Jail and the juvenile into the Tulare County Juvenile Hall.

Anyone with information regarding this matter is urged to contact Det. Tim Silva at 559-782-7400.

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