Police believe a man arrested on suspicion of shoplifting last week is also the suspect they’ve been searching for in connection with an armed robbery of a fast food restaurant in April.
The Los Banos Police Department arrested Gregory Valencia, 22, of Dos Palos June 13 after he allegedly attempted to steal items from Wal-Mart, located on the 1500 block of West Pacheco Boulevard. The incident was reported at 8:12 p.m.
Valencia threatened to shoot a store employee who tried to stop him from stealing, police said. The employee contacted police as Valencia reportedly left the scene traveling east on Pacheco Boulevard in a red Chrysler convertible.
Officer Christopher Borchardt spotted the vehicle and, with the help of addition members of law enforcement, stopped the car at the intersection of Sixth Street and Pacheco Boulevard.
A second male, 29, was found in the vehicle. He was not arrested, police said. Authorities said they did not find a gun on either Valencia or the passenger.
During the investigation Detective Jake Bento recognized Valencia as having a similar appearance to a suspect wanted in an April 28 armed robbery at Carl’s Jr. on the 1900 Block of East Pacheco Boulevard.
Police said Valencia was positively identified as the suspect in the robbery and is talking with the authorities. “The suspect has been cooperating with our detectives and is providing details regarding both cases. Detective Bento did a great job recognizing the suspect description and helping to close the April case,” Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. said.
Valencia was arrested on suspicion of robbery, commercial burglary, possession of stolen property, providing false information to a law enforcement officer and having an outstanding warrant. He is in custody at the Merced Main Jail pending $82,000 bail.
Enterprise staff writer Corey Pride can be reached at 388-6563 or firstname.lastname@example.org.