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TCSO, P’ville PD arrest five from Strathmore in robbery sting

TCSO, P’ville PD arrest five from Strathmore in robbery sting

@TheSunGazette

visalia – Tulare County law enforcement is busy. On Monday, Aug. 7, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux and Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil announced five arrests in a joint investigation of armed robberies at businesses throughout Tulare County, within the city limits of Porterville, Lindsay, Bakersfield and Delano and as far away as Fremont, Neb.

More than $250,000 was taken during 14 armed robberies over 15 months. Twelve were in Tulare County which includes four in Porterville and two in Lindsay, one in Bakersfield and one in Delano. There was one armed robbery in Fremont, Neb. and one attempted burglary/theft of an ATM machine in Dodge County in Nebraska. None of the stolen money has been recovered, said Sheriff Boudreaux.

Following a string of armed robberies at businesses targeted by violent and dangerous offenders, the two agencies began working together and formed a task force to identify and apprehend these suspects connected to these brazen armed robberies.

Each robbery was the same: 3-4 armed suspects entered the business wearing masks and gloves. In an organized, methodical and well-planned manner, they tactically cleared out the store with assault rifles and pistols, scanning for any patrons or owners.

In English and Spanish, they demanded money and shouted, “Get on the ground.” With victims on the ground, they helped themselves to the cash register. In some instances, personal property such as cell phones and wallets were stolen.

Then they fled in a stolen getaway vehicle which law enforcement found abandoned nearby. From there, suspects entered another vehicle later identified as a Silver 2009 Chevy Impala LTZ with chrome wheels.

This vehicle is still outstanding and Sheriff Boudreaux asks the public’s assistance for information.

It was detectives at the Fremont Police Department in Nebraska who contacted Tulare County Sheriff’s Detectives following an armed robbery there. Investigative leads prohibit Sheriff Boudreaux from saying more but it was quickly learned that all of these armed robberies were related.

In June, investigative leads led detectives from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and the Porterville Police Department to travel to Nebraska, where they met with Fremont Police Detectives and Dodge County Sheriff’s Detectives. The detectives were investigating armed robberies that were very similar to the ones in Tulare County. While there, several witnesses were interviewed and information gathered was confirmed.

In Tulare County, there were 19 male and female victims, ranging in age from 20-50 years old. No children were involved. Although victims were scared and in at least one case, zip tied, no one was physically assaulted. Shots were fired during one armed robbery in the city of Porterville, but no one was injured.

“These dangerous fugitives had to be arrested,” he said. “I dedicated resources collaboratively with Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil to capture these violent suspects.”

Chief Kroutil explained that also assisting with the investigation are the Fresno office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, Tulare Area Regional Gang Enforcement Team (TARGET) and the Delano Police Department. The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office has also joined the pursuit of prosecuting these multi-jurisdictional robbery cases stemming from the current and ongoing investigation.

The investigation intensified when a weapon was located in May. DNA positively identified one of the suspects.

When information had been developed regarding names of potential suspects, surveillance operations were organized.

On July 26, 2017, members of the Sheriff’s CATTCH Unit (County Apprehension Team Seeking Criminals in Hiding) and Porterville Police Detectives set up surveillance in Porterville and made a traffic stop.

In the vehicle was one of the main suspects, Javier Beltran Alonzo, 24, out of Earlimart. Beltran Alonzo was booked for 14 counts of armed robbery, multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon, illegal possession of weapons and ammunition with enhancements, theft, criminal street gang enhancements, child endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, cultivation of marijuana, and manufacture of concentrated cannabis (honey oil). He was also arrested on outstanding warrants for robberies committed in Dodge County, Nebraska, as well as a weapons violation warrant out of Porterville. He currently remains in custody in lieu of $3.13 million bail.

The suspects also have active arrest warrants for armed robbery in Dodge County.

Following Beltran Alonzo’s arrest and continued investigation, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and the Porterville Police Department served two residential search warrants in the 300 block of “G” Street in Porterville and the 19600 block of Balfour Drive in Strathmore.

Those who were arrested were Jorge Alonso, 25, of Strathmore. Alonso was booked for manufacturing a controlled substance, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of an assault weapon with high capacity magazine, possession of a controlled substance and maintaining a place for selling or using controlled substances. He remains in custody in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Hugo Guerrero, 32, of Strathmore was booked for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, manufacturing a controlled substance, maintaining a place to sell or use controlled substances, sales of a controlled substance with an enhancement. He remains in custody in lieu of $300,000 bail.

Vanessa Garcia, 28, of Strathmore was booked for child endangerment, cultivation of marijuana, manufacturing a controlled substance, maintaining a place for the sale or use of controlled substances and an alcohol related violation. Garcia’s bail totaled $300,000, but she has bonded out of custody and will have to answer to the charges in court.

Leonard Martinez, 41, of Strathmore was booked for child endangerment likely to cause great bodily harm, possession of a firearm by a felon and manufacture of a controlled substance. His bail was $250,000, but he has bonded out of custody. He will have to answer to these charges in court.

Sheriffs are still on the lookout and are requesting the public’s help to track down Ulises Medina, 24, of Earlimart and Homero Palomino Ontiveros, 32, of Earlimart.

Medina is known to frequent various areas within Tulare County, as well as in the State of Nebraska. He is wanted by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Porterville Police Department, and the Fremont Police Department in Nebraska. He is to be considered armed and dangerous. He is described as a Hispanic male adult, approximately 5’3” to 5’6” tall, 155-170 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Ontiveros is wanted for questioning by both the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and the Porterville Police Department. He also has an outstanding arrest warrant for robbery charges and conspiracy to commit robbery out of Dodge County, Nebraska. Ontiveros is considered armed and dangerous. He is described as a Hispanic male adult, approximately 5’10” tall, 150-170 pounds with brown hair and eyes.

While the getaway vehicles were stolen and abandoned a few miles from the scene of the crime, the car meeting the getaway vehicles has been identified as a Silver 2009 Chevy Impala LTZ with chrome wheels and VIN# 2G1WU57M891276568. This car is likely “cold plated” or has paper plates.

Anyone with information to offer is encouraged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at (559) 733-6218 or anonymously at (559) 725-4194 or tcso@tipnow.com.

Or contact the Porterville Police Department at (559) 782-7400 or anonymously at (559) 784-3673.

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