FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Fresno police are stepping up patrols at taco stands after two were hit up late at night by customers who were after more than something to eat.
Monday night and Tuesday night officers are visiting taco trucks letting them know what's happened and how to step up security
Taco trucks are a staple in southeast Fresno and many other parts of town. But once the sun starts to go down, Armando Garcia calls it a day at El Taconazo.
For him, the risk of operating a cash business at night isn't worth the reward. "We keep ourselves busy during the day and weekends, so we don't see the need to work with the danger also being there," said Garcia.
Fresno police are warning vendors one-by-one after the latest robbery Sunday around 11 at night. Police said the man demanded money at a mobile vendor at Tulare and First. Minutes later officers caught up with the suspect, Jovante Hall. "His was just straight strong arm, meaning that he went up there, demanded money. He is not the most pleasing person to see, so he is kinda intimidating and he used that intimidation," said Lt. Mark Salazar, Fresno Police Department.
Investigators have solved two taco stand robberies in the past month. But they are warning vendors to have more than one worker in the truck at a time and provide lighting that is so bright-- it's a deterrent.
Garcia has not been a victim on the job but a scary confrontation away from work has made him very aware of dangerous situations. "I was robbed one night at my friends house from these gunmen and right after they robbed us, they went to a taco stand and robbed a taco stand, and so I know what it's like and, yeah, it can be very frightening."
Officers said many taco stand workers are accustomed to late night clientele that is sometimes intoxicated and unruly. But the robberies are a safety issue they want to prevent before it's a bigger problem.