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Kmart robber nabbed after tip-off from sister-in-law
A tip from a sister-in-law led Ceres police to arrest a 46-year-old man who robbed the Hatch Road Kmart store on Saturday, March 15.

Police said that Daniel Cardona, 46, of Ceres, held a clerk by the neck while pressing an object in her back and threatening to kill her if she did not comply in demands for money.

Cardona has formally been charged with robbery, attempted robbery, false imprisonment, and intimidating a witness. The charges could net Cardona his third felony strike, said Ceres Deputy Police Chief Mike Borges.

Cardona walked into the store at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday, said Borges, and approached a 37-year-old female clerk who was standing at a cash register. He allegedly grabbed her by the neck and held something at her back. He told her to open the register or he would kill her. She complied, allowing Cardona to grab an undisclosed amount of cash. He then dragged the clerk to the next register and demanded that she open it. The employee told Cardona that she couldn't open it, said Borges.

Cardona continued to hold the clerk as a hostage as he made his way to the front entrance, Borges said. At that point the clerk struggled to break free from Cardona's grip as he pushed her away at the same time. Witnesses said Cardona sped off in a blue four-door Lincoln.

As police officers scoured the area for the suspect, 911 dispatchers received a tip from Cardona's sister-in-law reporting that he came back to her house with a large amount of cash, announcing that he had just robbed somebody. Officer Tonya Smith was the first to arrive in the 1400 block of Bluejay Way and saw Cardona trying to exit a garage in a car containing another person. Officer Smith blocked in the suspect's vehicle with her her patrol car, drew her weapon and demanded that both me show their hands. Cardona reportedly refused to show his hands and yelled obscenities at Smith as she awaited back-up. He was taken out of the car at gunpoint and arrested.

Officers found Cardona armed with a knife.

Cardona has had six prior convictions, said Borges.