A Merced man arrested for an armed robbery in Chowchilla is now a suspect in a similar robbery that occurred in Turlock after the local store owner recognized him from a video posted on Facebook.
Norman Enrique Rojas, 32, of Merced was arrested Aug. 2 by deputies from the Merced County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of armed robbery. Rojas is also the prime suspect in an armed robbery that happened in the 1600 block of Lander Avenue in Turlock on July 21, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Russ Holeman.
The Chowchilla robbery that led to Rojas’ arrest happened July 24 at a Cigarettes 4 Less store. The Chowchilla Police Department said Rojas allegedly entered the store and pointed a handgun at the clerk. He stole $700 from the register and then fled in a white four door sedan.
The Chowchilla Police Department released a video of the robbery on their Facebook page and within days had received tips identifying Rojas as the suspect. Investigators also learned from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations that Rojas was on parole. Rojas’ probation officer was able to positively identify him from the video of the robbery.
On Aug. 1, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department received a report stating Rojas was causing a disturbance at his residence and dispatched a deputy to the home. However, Rojas was able to flee the scene by jumping over several fences before the deputy arrived at the location.
Around 6 a.m. the following morning the sheriff’s deputies received a tip that Rojas was back at the residence. Rojas was found hiding in a closet and was taken into custody without incident.
The posting of the video on Facebook came to the attention of a Turlock store owner that had been robbed at gunpoint on July 21. In that robbery, the suspect took cash and cigarettes, Holeman said.
Rojas also is suspected of robbing the same Chowchilla cigarette store two years earlier.