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Common link is sought between robberies in Calexico and Brawley

May 29, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

Two robberies occurred in the Imperial Valley on Tuesday — one in Brawley, one in Calexico — and police are investigating whether the crimes were committed by the same person.

Jimmy Cosio, 43, of El Centro was arrested in connection with the robbery in Calexico.

His description and the description of the vehicle he was driving matched descriptions of the suspect and getaway vehicle in the Brawley case, police reported.

The first robbery occurred in Brawley at the La Colmena Market on Palm Drive and H Street.

Brawley police Lt. John Myers said a man wearing a black shirt, black pants, a black ski mask and brandishing a handgun walked into the business around 10 a.m.

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The man took the entire cash drawer from the register with him before fleeing from the market in a vehicle witnesses described as a light blue Ford Thunderbird. The vehicle was last seen heading west on G Street before turning on Cesar Chavez Street.

No one was injured in that robbery.

Witnesses described the gunman as a male Hispanic, about 5 feet 7 inches tall with a thin build.

Hours later, about 1 p.m., an armed suspect also wearing a ski mask walked into the El Sol Market at 100 W. Birch St. in Calexico and ordered everyone to the floor. That suspect took money from the register and fled. No injuries resulted from the robbery.

Two people saw the gunman get into a light blue Thunderbird, said Calexico police Lt. Jim Neujahr. They also saw the suspect without his ski mask and got the license plate number of the vehicle.

Calexico police initially searched for the vehicle and ran a computer check on the license plate, tracing the vehicle to a residence in the 300 block of Euclid Avenue in El Centro.

The vehicle also was traced to Cosio, who resides at the residence on Euclid. Police were able to obtain a photograph of Cosio, who was on parole, and showed it to witnesses, who identified him as the gunman.

Calexico police went to Cosio's residence but he did not appear to be home. Police then were going to call for a stakeout of the residence.

However, El Centro police officers then spotted a light blue Thunderbird about 4 p.m. and stopped the vehicle on Main Street.

There were two people inside the vehicle but neither was Cosio. However, police found cash in the vehicle that could be related to the crimes.

A man and a woman in the vehicle were detained and police arrested the man, identified as Jose Canez, 37, of Calexico, for a parole violation and for being a parolee at-large. He was booked into county jail without bail.

After stopping the vehicle, police learned Cosio was at the residence on Euclid. Police contacted Cosio by phone and he voluntarily gave up to officers. Calexico and El Centro police officers, the Imperial Valley Street Interdiction Team and state parole officers joined in making the arrest. Cosio was booked into county jail without bail.

The case remained under investigation today, with police in Brawley and Calexico trying to determine whether the robberies are related.

Myers said the suspect in the Brawley case escaped with just under $300; Neujahr declined to say how much was taken from the Calexico market.

No weapon had been recovered as of this morning.

Neujahr said police have impounded the vehicle and are in the process of obtaining a search warrant to search the vehicle.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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