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Two sentenced for 2020 Ceres AM/PM robbery

Two 19-year-old men have been convicted of robbing an AM/PM Mini Mart in Ceres last year and will be spending a lot of time in state prison.

Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Monroe Tyler prosecuted the case against Salvador Daniel Patron and Mason Robert Salazar for the Feb. 24, 2020 robbery. 

Salazar drove Patron and two other males to an AM/PM in Ceres to rob the clerk and any customers they might find inside the store. Patron entered wearing a mask with Aaron Araujo, and pointed a gun at the cashier, ordering him to open the register and threatening to kill him. Patron and Araujo also demanded money from three customers, one of whom was a pregnant woman. Salazar stayed outside as the getaway driver and drove away from the store after the robbers fled.

Days later, Salazar attempted to steal a car but was chased into a backyard and caught by police. Officers found one of the AM/PM robbery victim’s wallets nearby. Further investigation revealed a “celebration video” in which Patron and Salazar were seen with cash and stolen items. A second video shot before the robbery showed the same firearm used in the Ceres robbery.

During a Feb. 3 court appearance, Salazar pled to two counts of robbery and admitted a prior juvenile adjudication for robbery which counted as a “strike” under California’s “Three Strikes” law. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Judge Ricardo Cordova then sentenced Salazar to nine years in state prison.

Patron, who has no prior criminal history, pled guilty to four counts of robbery, one for each victim in the store, and admitted a gun enhancement for each count. Under a plea agreement, Judge Cordova sentenced Patron to serve nine years and four months in state prison.

Salazar now has three prior “strike” convictions under California’s “Three Strikes” law while Patron has four. Should they be convicted of another specified felony offense following release from prison, they are subject to receiving a sentence of 25 years to life.

Araujo was charged with four counts of robbery and is currently out on bail pending further court appearances.