Fresno man arrested after robbing and stealing car from victims

A Fresno man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of robbery and carjacking in southwest Fresno after the victims didn’t have a half-pound of marijuana to steal, police said.

Police were called to the Summercrest Apartments at 1160 E. Church Ave., just east of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, around 9 p.m. for a robbery, Sgt. Joe Gomez said. The victims told officers they had been robbed at gunpoint and their car was taken.

They told police they went to the apartments to pick up a new acquaintance, Gomez said. Jose Manuel Torres-Escobar, 28, and a Hispanic male in his late 20s with a goatee, black sweater and shorts approached the victims with handguns as they walked into the courtyard of the complex.

The victims gave a sandwich bag full of marijuana, their wallets, cell phones, cash and car keys to the suspects, Gomez said. They were told not to call the police and to stand still for five minutes as the suspects drove off with the victim’s vehicle, a 2005 Acura.

Around 45 minutes later, an officer found the vehicle parked in Easton with Torres-Escobar and a woman inside, Gomez said. The suspect was positively identified and both were taken into police district headquarters for questioning. The woman claimed no knowledge of the car being stolen before arriving.

Torres-Escobar admitted to stealing the car and admitted to simulating that he was holding a gun while robbing the victims, Gomez said. He said it was supposed to be a fake purchase of a half-pound of marijuana that they were going to steal.

Torres-Escobar was arrested and booked into the Fresno County Jail for suspected robbery and carjacking, according to jail records.

Paul Schlesinger: 559-441-6659, @PaulSch_Photog