Five arrested in Visalia street vendor beating


Selling ice cream, corn and other snacks, street vendors are a fixture outside Visalia schools and in neighborhoods. Their business is geared to be wherever there's a crowd, which is why police say this latest attack on a street vendor was so brazen.

Sgt. Paul Esquibel said, "It's kind of uh concerning you know considering the time this occurred and where it occurred."

This past Sunday at around 1:30 in the afternoon, at a busy intersection, police say 20-year-old Lovell Owens, a 17-year-old and three 15-year-old boys attacked a street vendor.

Sgt. Paul Esquibel said, "One of the suspects actually got the attention of the ice cream vendor and in turn he stopped thinking they wanted to purchase some items."

Police say 18-year-old Benito Lopez was pushed to the ground and punched and kicked repeatedly on his head, neck and back.

Lopez was sent to the hospital. Investigators say the suspects also took the money out of his pockets. The attack has angered people who live near the intersection.

Neighbor, Billy Seng said, "I think that's pretty sad because all he's trying to do is trying to make an honest living and everything."

Neighbor, Elizabeth Muniz said, "I think that's wrong I mean people are out here trying to make a living keeping to themselves and for someone to do that to somebody else it's just totally wrong."

Visalia Police say thanks to a number of witnesses they were able to catch three of the suspects that night. On Tuesday, police announced two more arrests.

All five suspects now face felony robbery charges. Police are trying to figure out if the attack was gang-related.

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