General Crime

* Ruben Alberto Hernandez taken into custody after Santa Rosa, Exchange Bank at 2727 Yulupa Ave was robbed

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A man suspected of robbing a Santa Rosa bank Wednesday afternoon is being held in county jail on $100,000 bail, and police believe the suspect may also be connected to a Tuesday robbery of a Santa Rosa market. A man entered the Exchange Bank at 2727 Yulupa Ave. shortly after noon wearing a mask and a hooded sweatshirt while brandishing a gun, according to police. The suspect obtained an undisclosed amount of money and fled through the bank’s front doors.

A witness calling from Cactus Avenue, which runs behind the bank, told police that the man had a red substance explode on him while crossing the footpath connecting the rear of the bank to the street. Officers were notified at 12:15 p.m. of the robbery that had just occurred and were on the hunt for a dark-colored four-door Honda Accord, when an officer traveling to the scene observed the vehicle near Neotomas Avenue and Farmers Lane — roughly two miles from the bank.

The officer, pulling a U-turn, attempted to stop the vehicle near Farmers Lane and Hoen Avenue, but the driver sped away at high speeds north on Farmers Lane, police said. After running two red lights on Farmers Lane, the car smashed into the curb near the intersection with Sonoma Avenue. Although the car apparently was damaged from its run-in with the curb, the driver turned onto Magowan Drive and stopped before Shortt Road.

Police said the suspect, who remained in the vehicle, appeared to put a gun to his head but that the man tossed the gun out the driver’s side window after officers yelled commands at him. Officers took Ruben Alberto Hernandez, 27,of Santa Rosa, into custody. Police said that a large amount of dye-stained US currency — along with the mask, scarf and duffle bag used in the bank robbery — were located in the Accord. Hernandez was booked at Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of robbery and felony evading, with bail set at $100,000, police said.

On Tuesday, officers responded to reports of an armed robbery at the Carniceria Mendoza market at 1940 Piner Rd. at about 9 p.m. Police said that the suspect in that robbery also wore clothing that covered his face, used a black duffle bag and a black gun, and fled in a black four-door Honda. Detectives, police said, have collected evidence from Wednesday’s robbery that suggests Hernandez may have committed the Tuesday robbery. Police secured and served a search warrant at Hernandez’s Carina Court residence. As of Wednesday evening,formal charges against Hernandez were pending and the detectives’ investigation was in progress.

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