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Officer arrests robbery suspect

August 02, 2008|By SILVIO J. PANTA, Staff Writer

A man suspected of robbing a Fourth Street gas station July 13 was arrested Friday when an El Centro police officer on patrol spotted him, a sergeant said.

Officer Jesus Gonzalez saw Mario Espinoza walking along Fourth Street near Ross Avenue and saw he bore a resemblance to the suspect who held up the USA gas station, El Centro police Sgt. Jeff Mason said.

Gonzalez maneuvered his way through traffic to approach Espinoza, Mason said.

Espinoza, an 18-year-old El Centro resident, saw the officer’s car and fled on foot, Mason said. Another officer who was in the area assisted Gonzalez and chased Espinoza on foot before arresting him.

Last month, a Latino man standing about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a thin build entered the gas station and lifted up his shirt to reveal a handgun stuck in his waistband, police said.

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The retail clerk, police said, handed the robber $60 and the robber fled the store.

“During his interview with (a detective), Espinoza confessed to committing the robbery of the USA gas station last month,” Mason said in a statement.

The weapon, believed to be an air gun, was not recovered. Espinoza was taken to the Imperial County jail, where he was booked on suspicion of a single count of armed robbery with bail set at $100,000.

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