By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turlock police nab four suspects for violent park robberies
Lavinia Perez

Four people, including two juveniles, have been arrested for a series of violent robberies at Turlock’s Donnelly Park.

The arrests came about after Turlock Police investigators were able to track down the vehicle seen fleeing the park after one of the robberies. The vehicle led them to the four suspects — Shaun Santos, 22, of Modesto; Lavinia Perez, 38, of Modesto; and two male juveniles, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old from Modesto and Manteca, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Russ Holeman.

Santos and the two juveniles were charged with robbery, while Perez was charged with robbery and attempted murder — a charge that was generated after an encounter Monday in the park that left a male victim with life-threatening injuries.

Both Santos and Perez were arraigned Thursday afternoon in Stanislaus County Superior Court and both entered not guilty pleas. The judge ordered $750,000 bail for each at the request of the District Attorney’s office based upon the severity of the charges and the injuries sustained by the victims. The judge also appointed them attorneys. Santos will be represented by the Stanislaus County Public Defender’s Office, while a private attorney will be assigned to Perez because of client conflicts with the public defender’s office.

Investigators were able to identify the suspect vehicle, a white 2004 Kia Sedona with Nevada license plates, after reviewing surveillance video from an area business. Using this information, detectives working in conjunction with the Manteca Police Department were able to locate the suspect vehicle in the city of Manteca.

With the assistance of the California Highway Patrol and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, detectives were able to stop the suspect vehicle and its occupants in the city of Stockton. All four subjects were taken into custody without incident and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail and Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall.

The weapons used in the robberies were located as well as some of the stolen property.

“I am very proud of our Investigations Unit as they worked non-stop, following every lead for the last 24 hours,” said Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar. “Their dedication to getting the job done resulted in the quick apprehension of these criminals. We should all be proud of the combined efforts of not only your police department personnel, but also our partnering law enforcement organizations who assisted with this case. The men and women of the Turlock Police Department will continue to work tirelessly to ensure our community is provided with the best police services possible. I am blessed and proud to be a part of this dedicated and noble organization.”

The robberies have happened over the last three weeks, with the most recent occurring around 6 p.m. Monday. In that case, officers were dispatched to a robbery report that had just occurred in the western parking lot of Donnelly Park. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male victim who had suffered life-threatening injuries after being assaulted with an unknown weapon, Holeman said. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Another robbery was reported around 6 p.m. Nov. 26. In that case, the victim was at Donnelly Park when he was approached by several unknown individuals, who were all dressed in black and had their faces covered, Holeman said.

The victim told investigators the robbers threw him to the ground and kicked him as they stole his phone.  One of the suspects then pointed a gun at a female victim and took her purse and phone.

The first robbery occurred around the same time on Nov. 17 at the park. The male victim told investigators he was surrounded by a group of suspects all in black and that they demanded he hand over his property. The victim refused, which is when the group started attacking and punching him, before fleeing with his personal property. The victim had a complaint of pain after the incident, Holeman said.

The Turlock Police Department is asking that anyone who may have witnessed these robberies occurring, or who may have seen the suspect vehicle at Donnelly Park around the time of these incidents to call Detective Frank Navarro (209) 664-7319.

You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email