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Search leads to robbery arrest in Turlock
Omar Gonzalez
Omar Gonzalez

A robbery suspect and an accomplice who helped him flee from law enforcement at least for a short time were apprehended Thursday afternoon in Turlock by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies from the sheriff department’s Special Team Investigating Narcotics and Gangs had identified Omar Gonzalez, 22, of Modesto as the prime suspect in a robbery from February and had obtained a warrant for his arrest. On Thursday, the S.T.I.N.G. deputies saw Gonzalez in a vehicle near a residence he was associated with in Turlock and attempted to stop the vehicle, said sheriff spokesman Sgt. Anthony Bejaran.

The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Steven Johnson, 29, refused to stop for the deputies and a short vehicle pursuit ensued.

Johnson eventually stopped the vehicle in the area of Blush Court and Gonzalez fled on foot. The sheriff’s deputies, along with assistance from the Turlock Police Department, set up a perimeter around the area of Tully Road and Nikki Ann Way and warned residents to shelter in place for the time being.

A deputy with a K9 was brought to the area and the dog was able to locate Gonzalez hiding in a shed in the backyard of one of the Blush Court residences, Bejaran said. He was taken into custody without further incident.

Deputies discovered Gonzalez had been armed when he fled from the vehicle. A loaded firearm was found along the path he ran from the vehicle to the shed, Bejaran said. The firearm had been reported stolen out of state. 

Gonzalez was booked for robbery, committing a crime while being a member of a criminal street gang, felony battery, felon in possession of a firearm, evading law enforcement and being in violation of his probation. 

Johnson was booked for evading law enforcement in a motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license.