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Teens nabbed for armed robbery

POSTED September 18, 2009 11:48 p.m.
Two Winton teenagers were arrested Sept. 11 on suspicion of committing a strong armed robbery against another Winton teen.
The two teens are also suspected of a string of armed robberies in the Winton and Atwater areas, said Merced County Sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
The first robbery was reported on the afternoon of Sept. 8 by a 15-year-old boy. The boy was walking home from school when he was approached by two suspects.
Through investigation Merced Sheriff’s Detective Dwayne Pavelski was able to determine the identity of the two suspects as Isaias Covarrubias, 19, and Gerardo Valencia, 18, both of Winton. Covarrubias was arrested on Sept. 11 and booked on a $100,000 arrest warrant for armed robbery, following a search warrant of his residence, MacKenzie said.
Valencia was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he was implicated in another robbery, MacKenzie said.
An off-duty sheriff’s detective was at a gas station at Bellevue Road and Winton Way in Atwater when he was approached by a man who said he was just robbed and pointed the suspects out. The detective followed the suspects for approximately 15 minutes before losing sight of them.
The Atwater Police Department canvassed the city in search of the vehicle and found it at Gertrude Avenue and Shaffer Road in Atwater. The three suspects involved, Valencia and two 17-year-old male juveniles, were arrested by the Atwater Police Department.
Valencia was booked on a Merced Sheriff’s arrest warrant for the armed robbery on Sept. 8, and also had fresh charges of armed robbery for the incident that had just occurred, MacKenzie said. He remains in custody on $280,000 bail.
A detective from the Atwater Police Department said that there had been another armed robbery just minutes prior to the one reported to the off-duty detective. He also indicated that there has been a rash of armed robberies in and about the school areas of Atwater.
Covarrubias and Valencia are suspects in several armed robberies in the Winton/Atwater area. Anyone with information about these robberies or other suspects, or who might have been a victim and failed to report it is asked to contact Detective Pavelski at 385-7472 or Detective Echevarria at 357-6395.

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