Fresno Police arrest 2 for series of robberies on Valentine's Day

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Training for this store clerk got him ready for his first day on the job at Central Food Mart near Chestnut and Central Avenues.

But he wasn't prepared for what was about to happen next.

While ringing up a customer purchasing a pack of beer, an armed robber wearing a bandana walks in, demanding money behind the counter, even hitting the clerk with his weapon during the holdup.

You then see the suspect taking cash out of the register and forcing the employee to open up the second register, where he then takes even more money before racing out the door.

Fresno County Sheriff's Office investigators believe this suspect may have been responsible for other armed robberies in Fresno.

"We ended up locating this suspect," says Tony Botti, public information officer for the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. "We got Fresno Police all tied in with us and took him into custody."

That suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Ernesto Tavarez. Fresno Police believe he and 24-year-old Erick Alvarez are connected to a series of robberies on Valentine's Day.

The first happened at a Valero near Blackstone and Spruce. Then hours later and a block away, authorities say one of them robbed a Chevron gas station.

Before the night was over, police say they went to Evergreen Market in southwest Fresno for another robbery.

Detectives say clear surveillance video helped them with each case.

"Based on description of those suspects and them not covering their faces and wearing the same clothing and using the same firearms, we were able to link them all three of them together and get one of the suspects identified immediately," says Fresno Police Lt. Larry Bowlan.

That's now four armed robbery investigations that are close to being closed. Sheriff's officials believe this is a great example of agencies working together.

"Getting there pretty quickly and getting good information, we end up wrapping up four cases in one night.

Tavares has auto theft background, Alvarez has an assault background.

Both are facing armed robbery charges.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.