A Ceres teenager believed to have committed a string of armed robberies in Ceres and Modesto was arrested Monday morning after police staked out a convenience store they predicted he might strike and were right about their hunch.
Davion Dangelo Gates, 18, of Ceres, faces six counts of armed robbery and was being held at the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center after he was arrested while trying to rob the Quik Stop at 1301 Service Road.
"Our detectives are still actively working the case trying to link him to other robberies that they think he may be involved in," said Ceres Police Department spokesman Lt. Chris Perry.
The night clerk at Quik Stop called 9-1-1 to report an attempted robbery at 12:46 a.m. on Monday. Wearing a black long-sleeved shirt with white stripes on the sleeves and a white mask covering the lower half of his face, the suspect approached the front door but left when he could not see the clerk sitting down behind the cash register. The store produced a surveillance video image of the suspect and gave it to Officer Jeremy Caron. The suspect matched the description of a man who robbed the Liquor Locker, 1578 E. Whitmore, at 11:41 p.m. on Thursday.
The photo showed the suspect to be wearing black clothing, a white mask covering most of his face, and holding a silver handgun. Police believe he also matched the description of the man who robbed the Hatch Road AM/PM at 2:22 a.m. early Friday. During that robbery, the suspect wore a dark-hooded jacket, black pants with a white mask covering part of his face and held a black handgun with extended magazine. The robber ran from the store with cash after threatening to shoot the clerk if he did not hand over the money.
Shortly after, the Modesto Police Department took a report of an armed robbery that occurred at a store in Modesto with the suspect matching the description as the AM/PM robbery suspect.
A short while later, at 3:30 a.m., the white mask-wearing suspect tried to enter the Quik Stop at Service and Morgan roads but found the door locked. Lt. Perry said the clerk keeps the door locked before allowing customers in. When the clerk heard the locked door pulled, he saw the masked suspect. The suspect then ran off when he realized he could not enter.
Twenty-six minutes later the suspect wearing matching clothing and white mask entered the AM/PM at Whitmore Avenue and Ninth Street. He pointed a black semi-automatic handgun with extended magazine at the clerk and threatened to shoot if he wasn't given money from the register. The suspect took money and ran southbound on Ninth Street.
Police saw a pattern and believed the suspect would strike again Sunday night or early Monday and beefed up patrols around convenience stores. At 1:35 a.m., Officer Caron saw a suspicious figure hanging outside the Quik Stop in southwest Ceres and alerted other officers. Sgt. Vince Hooper staked out in the area and watched the suspect move from behind the store to the front door. When Gates saw officers swooping in, he took off running north toward the Kiddie Kingdom Day Care in a nearby commercial building where he dropped a black semi-auto handgun with an extended magazine. It later turned out to be a replica.
Officer Matt Berlier was fast on Gates' heels as the suspect jumped into the back yard of 1304 Tranquil Lane and then over the front side fence. Officer Caron and Officer Christian Izquierdo grabbed Gates and took him into custody.
Police found Gates with the white mask used in the hold-ups. A key in Gates' pocket led officers to a BMW parked nearby at the corner of Tranquil Lane and Morgan Road. A silver semi-auto handgun, also a replica, was found inside Gates' car.