By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
'Band-Aid Bandit' arrested
The suspect known as the Band-Aid bandit has been arrested through the efforts of Ceres Police.

Andrew Jason Gonzalez, 23, was arrested Thursday in Merced after authorities tracked him there.

Ceres Police Detective Keith Greibel said that Gonzalez was the man who robbed the Staples store on Hatch Road in Ceres on Sept. 5 and the Stars Studio at1520 E. Hatch three days later.

Griebel said that Gonzalez may have been responsible for approximately 30 robberies in Ceres, Modesto, Turlock, Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, Livermore and East Bay. The robberies, which started in June, also occurred in San Jose, Scotts Valley, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. The suspect typically walked into an establishment brandishing a handgun and demanding cash. He wore a Band-Aid on his left cheek; police say it was to hide a mole.

During the Oct. 25 robbery of the Foster's Freeze on Pelandale Avenue in Modesto, witnesses saw the white Chevy Cavalier with tan roof that Gonzalez used to get away and took down a license plate number. That number allowed authorities to track him to his Merced parents' home. Detectives from Turlock Police Department had developed information that confirmed where the suspect lived.

At approximately 7 a.m. on Thursday two Ceres detectives helped Turlock execute an arrest warrant in the 2000 block of Edwards Avenue in Merced with the help of the Merced County Sheriff's Department SWAT team.

"When they hit the house he hid in the yard or so down from his house," said Griebel.

After the morning standoff ended, a neighbor reported walking inside his home and coming face-to-face with Gonzalez who told him to keep quiet or he would kill him and his family. The suspect apparently escaped from the home by jumping out the window.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. a neighbor pointed out Gonzalez, saying that he was running down railroad tracks near his house. Police caught up with him at E. 21st Street and Ash Avenue.

In the Ceres Staples robbery, the suspect walked in at 3:24 p.m. and asked the clerk to make change for a dollar. When the male clerk opened the cash register, the suspect told the clerk not to touch anything as he aimed a small caliber revolver at him. The suspect grabbed an unknown amount of money from the register and fled toward Richland Avenue.

Deputy Chief of Police Mike Borges said that two patrol units happened to be in the area and responded within a minute but couldn't locate the man.

Gonzalez hit a variety of stores, say police. In Manteca he allegedly robbed a UPS Store, Postal Annex and Pak 'n Save. In Tracy a Walgreen's was robbed by the same man. He robbed the Tracy Save Mart on Sept. 2. On Oct. 20 he struck a Tracy Subway shop in the same shopping center as the Walgreen's that was robbed on Oct. 10. On Oct. 22 at approximately 12:46 p.m. the Longs Drug Store in the 2400 block of Geer Road in Turlock was hit by the Band-Aid bandit.

During his arrest a defiant Gonzalez stuck his tongue out at a cameraman.