Four men and one woman were arrested as suspects in a case related to a series of brazen armed robberies in Kern and Tulare counties and two more in Nebraska between May 2016 and July 22, 2017, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Monday.
Two men are still at large and are considered armed and dangerous. All the suspects are from Tulare County.
Three of the men are believed responsible for 16 robberies ranging from a bank automatic teller machine in Nebraska and an armored car robbery in Delano to small liquor stores and markets. One Porterville market was robbed twice in five weeks in 2016.
Twelve robberies were in the Porterville area. Four were in Porterville, three in Strathmore, two in Lindsay, two in Earlimart and one in Woodville. Also, a liquor store was robbed in Bakersfield.
Total, more than $250,000 was stolen – none of it recovered. During the robberies, none of the 19 victims were injured, but one was zip-tied, the sheriff said, and shots were fired in one of the robberies.
In June, detectives from the Poterville Police Department and Tulare County Sheriff’s Department traveled to Nebraska where detectives were investigating two robberies under similar circumstances as those in California.
16Five men are believed to be responsible for 16 robberies.
A break in the case occurred July 26 after police had gathered names of suspects and information through surveillance four days after the final robbery in Woodville.
Detectives with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department and Porterville police made a traffic stop and arrested Javier Beltran Alonzo, 24, of Earlimart. He was suspected in 14 robberies. His bail is $3.13 million.
Following Alonzo’s arrest, investigators issued two search warrants in Porterville and Strathmore and arrested three men and one woman. Two of the men were alleged to have been involved in the robberies, according to sheriff reports.
Two other men believed involved in the robberies, Ulises Medina, 24, and Homero Palomino Ontiveros, 32, both of Earlimart, remain at large. Detectives say they are armed and dangerous.
Others arrested were Jorge Alonso, 25, and Hugo Guerrero, 25, both of Strathmore. They were booked on unrelated drugs and firearms counts. Alonso’s bail is $250,000. Guerrero’s bail is set at $300,000.
Two others arrested following the search warrants are out on bail.
Vanessa Garcia, 28, of Strathmore, was booked into Tulare County Jail for marijuana cultivation, manufacturing a controlled substance and maintaining a home for the sale or use of controlled substances. Leonard Martinez, 41, of Strathmore, was booked into jail for child endangerment, possession of a firearm and manufacturing a controlled substance.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department at 559-733-6218 or anonymously at 559-725-4194. To reach the Porterville Police Department, call 559-782-7400 or anonymously at 559-784-3673.