Two suspected gang members with a shotgun were arrested late Thursday after a robbery of a 7-Eleven store in Watsonville where a civilian followed their car and police captured them tying to flee on foot, police said.
At 9:33 p.m. Thursday, Watsonville police were dispatched to the 7-Eleven at 455 Airport Blvd. beside the Watsonville Municipal Airport on a report of a male with a gun inside the store, according Sgt. Henry Robles.
The report was upgraded to an armed robbery involving two men with a rifle and the store’s silent robbery alarm system was activated, officers said.
Witnesses to the robbery reported that two men in black clothing and wearing white masks over their mouths entered the convenience store with a rifle, robbed the store of numerous items and then drove away in a gray sedan, according to police.
One of the witnesses got into their personal car, followed the suspects’ car and soon reported to police that the vehicle had turned onto Loma Prieta Avenue towards South Green Valley Road, officers said.
At 9:35 p.m., two Watsonville police officers on their way to the same call observed a four-door gray BMW 325i stopping at the intersection of Loma Prieta and South Green Valley with two men wearing clothing similar to what witnesses of the robbery described, police said.
The officers noticed that the two men appeared nervous and suddenly the driver accelerated through the intersection against the light, endangering other motorists, Robles said.
The officers began pursuing the BMW as it drove across South Green Valley at a high speed before turning west onto Winding Way, where the driver stopped, got out, ignored orders by officers to stop and fled on foot into the side yard of nearby house, according to police.
Police quickly caught up with the driver, identified as 20-year-old Carlos Robles, and arrested him, officers reported.
Officers then set up a perimeter in the neighborhood while searching for the second suspect and at 9:40 p.m., an officer saw a person crawling through the bushes at 75 Hope Drive and took the second suspect, 22-year-old Miguel Hernandez, into custody, police said.
Police later recovered a loaded shotgun and many items from the 7-Eleven inside the BMW, according to officers.
Hernandez was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of robbery, gang enhancements, conspiracy, evading police, reckless driving, resisting arrest and violating his parole, police said.
Carlos Robles was booked at the jail on suspicion of robbery, gang enhancements, being a convicted felon with a firearm, possessing a firearm with a prior conviction, possessing illegal ammunition, conspiracy and violating probation, according to officers.
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