Three armed teenage suspects who conducted two park robberies in the darkness of early Wednesday morning were apprehended by Ceres Police after they scattered into a downtown residential area.
Arrested were Raul Arias, 18, and Antonio Miranda, 19, both of Ceres and a 17-year-old juvenile. A fourth suspect eluded capture.
Ceres Police Department spokesman Sgt. Greg Yotsuya said the suspects drove in a van to Neel Park in the 1900 block of Boothe Road at approximately 12:49 a.m. There they approached a 19-year-old man sitting in the park and knocked him to the ground and assaulted him and leaving him with a laceration to his head and injuries to a knee. The suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun, robbed the man of his fanny pack, belt and shoes. He drove himself to a local hospital while calling 911 to report the robbery.
As officers responded to Neel Park, another attempted robbery was reported to 911 operators. A 29-year-old man in Smyrna Park reported that he was approached by several suspects in a van who told him to give them everything he had. The victim said he only had his cell phone on him and was ordered to throw it down. The victim wasn’t assaulted and fled the scene.
Ceres Police began searching for the van and approximately 45 minutes later, Officer Eric Souza spotted what he believed to be a match to the description in the area of Lawrence and Ninth streets. When he attempted to stop the van the driver sped off, leading the officer on a brief pursuit.
The van pulled into an alley off of Roeding Road near Eighth Street and four suspects scattered. Officers set up a perimeter and began a search with the help of Modesto Police Department which used their drone. Stanislaus County Sheriff deputies also helped as did the helicopter, Air 101. Three of the four suspects were located hiding in different spots.
A handgun was recovered near the van and property belong to the victim of the Neel Park robbery was located inside the van.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Matthew Berlier at 538- 5616.