It took less than three hours for two alleged Norteno gang members to rob three Redwood City convenience stores Tuesday morning with rifles stolen in a residential burglary days earlier, Redwood City police said today. Miguel Alvarado, 18, and Osvaido Lopez, 21, both of Redwood City, were arrested around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue following a “mini crime spree” that began with the theft of guns from a home last week, Deputy Police Chief Gary Kirby said at a midday news conference. Police allege that Lopez and Alvarado are members of the Norteno street gang.
The first of the three convenience store robberies occurred at 3:50 a.m. Tuesday at the 7-Eleven store at 460 Woodside Road. Police believe Lopez, masked and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, entered the store, pointed a long-barrel rifle at the clerk and demanded cash. The clerk complied and was not injured, Kirby said. The clerk was able to call police and noted that the getaway vehicle was a white Ford Mustang convertible with a black top.
About 40 minutes later, police received a report of a similar robbery at the Food Stop store at 916 Whipple Ave. The clerk reported being robbed by a masked gunman with a black hooded sweatshirt, according to Kirby. The Food Stop clerk gave the gunman cash and then saw him run north on Arguello Street. That clerk also noticed a white Mustang in the area at the time of the robbery. A third robbery occurred at 6:10 a.m. at the 7-Eleven at 1700 Broadway. The clerk there reported similar circumstances, including the presence of a white Mustang, Kirby said.
About 20 minutes after the third robbery, Redwood City police Sgt. Gill Gomez located the Mustang in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue. Kirby said the vehicle was unoccupied but the headlights were on and a black hoodie was seen in the car that matched the description of the one worn by the suspect. While officers were investigating the car, the two suspects were seen walking down the driveway of a home in that block. When they saw police, they briefly retreated before being taken into custody, according to Kirby. They were arrested and transported to jail, and police obtained search warrants for both of their homes.
It was then, according to Kirby, that police were able to link Lopez and Alvarado to a residential burglary last Thursday in the 500 block of Katherine Street. During the searches, officers recovered two rifles taken from the Katherine Street home that are believed to have been used in the convenience store robberies, police said. Investigators also found a wad of cash. Kirby said it was also discovered that a gold Ford Taurus seen in the vicinity of Katherine Street at the time of the home burglary belongs to one of the suspects. The suspects came away from the armed robberies with nearly $1,400 in cash, according to police. Both men were arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and residential burglary, Kirby said.
Anyone with information about the case is being asked to contact Detective Mike Alifano at (650) 780-7677.
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