FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Fresno Police announced arrests in a Valentine’s Day crime spree.
Officers say the suspects, 19-year-old Ernesto Tavares and 24-year-old Erick Alvarez, were taken into custody Saturday. Police believe they robbed three stores at gunpoint in a matter of hours.
Jaswinder Singh said he’s happy he was unharmed after he said the two men held him up.
“No one shot me. Thank God,” he said.
Singh was working at the Evergreen Market on Elm and said it happened in less than 30 seconds. One suspect pointed the gun at his head and demanded cash.
Fresno Police said the crime spree started violently at the Valero on Blackstone and Birch.
“The one suspect that did encounter the clerk behind the cash register actually struck him with the firearm one time in the head,” said Lt. Larry Bowlan.
Several hours later, Bowland said the two nearly returned to the scene of the crime, hitting the Chevron just one street over. About an hour later, officers said the men had also robbed the Evergreen Market.
“The description of the suspects, them not covering their faces during the robberies, the guns that they were in possession of. It was definitely the same two suspects in all three robberies,” Lt. Bowlan said.
He said detectives recognized Tavarez, which led them to Alvarez, and both men are gang members with criminal backgrounds.
Search warrants turned up more than $1,500 allegedly stolen from the stores as well as the guns believed to be used. The suspects may have gotten away with cash, but police said they also left plenty behind.
“The detectives actually were able to identify the suspects right out of the surveillance video,” Bowlan said.
Bowlan added that the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is investigating another armed robbery on Feb. 21 and believe Tavarez may be involved.