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Men robbed five gas stations in two cities in two hours before being caught by police

Men robbed five gas stations in two cities in two hours before being caught by police

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – Two men were arrested last week after robbing five gas stations in two cities in just two hours.

Fernando Gonzalez, 21 years old

Fernando Gonzalez,
21 years old

The early morning armed robbery spree began at 3:42 a.m. at the Flyers gas station located at 1930 S. Mooney Blvd. According to witnesses, one male suspect entered the business armed with a handgun and stole cash from the business. The suspect then fled in an awaiting vehicle described as a black pickup truck.

At 4:10 a.m., the same suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Fernando Gonzalez,  entered the Valero Gas Station at 4445 W. Noble Ave. and robbed cash from the business at gunpoint before fleeing in the black pickup.

Cesar Chavez, 19 years old

Cesar Chavez,
19 years old

At 4:45 a.m., Gonzalez again used a handgun to rob the Flyers Gas Station at 1375 E. Mineral King before fleeing in the black pickup. The Visalia Police Department notified surrounding law enforcement agencies of the string of robberies and the description of the vehicle.

At 5:44 a.m., Tulare Police officers conducted a traffic stop on a pickup matching the description of this getaway vehicle in the 1900 block of S. Mooney Boulevard. Officers located evidence related to the robberies as well as a firearm inside the vehicle. Gonzalez and the getaway driver, 19-year-old Cesar Chavez, were detained and positively identified as the suspects in these three robberies. Tulare Police linked the two men to two more robberies in Tulare that were committed after the Visalia crimes. Both suspects were arrested and booked into jail on several counts of armed robbery.

Visalia Police Log

Tuesday, Nov. 28
Between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., officers conducted a minor decoy operation. During the six hour detail, an underage decoy was sent into numerous ABC licensed establishments and attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages. The underage decoy was able to purchase alcohol at the Chinowth Git & Go. The convenience store will face an administrative review by ABC and could face a fine or a suspension of their alcohol license. The Visalia Police Department urges all licensed establishments to carefully check the IDs of all individuals who appear to be younger than 30 years of age. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) through the department’s Grant Assistance Program. ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

Thursday, Nov. 30
At 2:09 a.m. on Mooney Boulevard at Sunnyside Drive, an officer initiated a traffic stop on a Chevrolet pickup for a vehicle code violation. Of the three occupants of the vehicle, one of the passengers, 35-year-old Nancy Alvarado, had an active warrant. When Alvarado was removed from the vehicle, officers recovered a loaded and concealed, 9mm semi-automatic handgun from her immediate area. Officers also located a small amount of methamphetamine and a glass pipe used to smoke methamphetamine. Alvarado was subsequently taken to the Adult Pre-Trial Facility where she was booked. The driver and additional passenger were released at the scene.

Friday, Dec. 1
A Visalia high school student was among three people arrested on Dec. 1 for burglarizing Golden Oak Elementary School, Valley Oak Middle School and Golden West High School, all located on a joint campus on Houston Avenue. Visalia Police officers were originally dispatched to Valley Oak Middle School just after midnight on Nov. 24 for a report of burglary and vandalism. Later that morning at 9:04 a.m., it was discovered that several classrooms at both the elementary and high school were also burglarized and vandalized. The Property Crimes Unit responded and took over the investigation. On Dec. 1 the Property Crimes Unit with the assistance of the Youth Services Unit conducted a probation search in the 1800 block of N. Maple. During the search property taken from the schools was located and the above listed adults and a 16-year-old juvenile were taken into custody. The adults were booked at Tulare County Jail and the minor was booked into Juvenile Hall on charges of burglary, conspiracy and possession of stolen property.

Saturday, Dec. 2
At 5:21 p.m. in the area of NW 1st and Pine streets, officers responded to a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers discovered a 30-year-old male suffering from several gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center and was reported to be in stable condition. The motive for the shooting is unknown and follow-up investigation will be conducted. The shooter and the weapon are still at large. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Visalia Police Department.

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