Fresno police on Monday announced the arrests of five people in two separate commercial robbery sprees that occurred recently in the city.
Robert Eric White, 21, Crystal Marie Leyba, 27, Santiago Daniel Cruz, 27, and Samantha Ashlie Berrios, 24, all Bulldog gang members, were arrested on robbery and related charges tied to eight different incidents between Oct. 15 and Nov. 3, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said. White faces the most charges, including not just robbery but carjacking as well.
In the second spree, Johnny Ray Maggard, 53, was arrested for three robberies committed Nov. 7, 11 and 15. The final two were at the same location – the Ashlan Inn, 4278 W Ashlan Ave. in Fresno.
Dyer said every one of the suspects has a criminal history and a methamphetamine habit. That means unpredictable behavior, he said.
The arrests, Dyer said, not only solves the crimes, “but prevent numerous other armed robberies from occurring. From every indication, these individuals were going to continue with their robbery sprees as well as the violent crimes they were committing.”
The eight incidents involving the Bulldog gang members started with the Oct. 15 theft of a wallet and a gun from a home in the 1600 block of East Menlo Ave., which was the home of White’s girlfriend’s grandfather.
Three days later, two males and a female robbed Buy Back Recycling, 3190 E. Tulare Ave., of $700. Then three days after that, Dyer said White stole a car, which was then used Oct. 22 in a robbery of a smoke shop in which the owner was shot twice as he was closing up. The victim survived.
Five days later, on Oct. 27, Dyer said White carjacked a vehicle on Cedar Avenue just north of Ventura Avenue. Later that same day, there was a robbery at Kyle’s Recycling, 2217 E. Belmont Ave.
Two other armed robberies – one at the Herbalife store, 215 N. Maple Ave., and one of Curbside Recycling, 4825 E. Olive Ave. – followed on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3.
After the Nov. 3 robbery, police spotted the suspect’s vehicle and took Cruz and Leyba into custody. Cash drawers and money bags taken from Curbside Recycling were found in the car.
Police tied all four suspects to the incidents. All are in the Fresno County Jail.
As for Maggard, he started his spree on Nov. 7, robbing a thrift store at 4670 N. El Capitan and shooting a pastor – who was working at the store – twice in the face with a pellet gun. He was wearing a Freddy Krueger mask during the robbery.
The two robberies at the Ashlan Inn followed. At the second Ashlan Inn robbery, police got good video of Maggard’s car, which was spotted Nov. 18 at Fountain and Maroa avenues. Maggard used a Glock handgun for the Ashlan Inn robberies.
“There is a very strong likelihood that Johnny Maggard will never see daylight again,” Dyer said.