Parking Lot Heist Sends Two to Jail

A man claiming to have a gun allegedly robbed a Woodlake man in the parking lot of a Visalia Target late on the night of February 24. The armed robber and his driver got away with the loot—but only until the Visalia Police caught up with him later that night.

The Woodlake man was walking to his car, in the parking lot of the Dinuba Street store, when Sergio Gutierrez, 29, of 999 E. Golden Way in Dinuba, approached him asking for directions, according to a Visalia Police Department report. But Gutierrez wasn’t satisfied with the directions he got. He indicated he had a gun and demanded the man’s cell phone and his cash.

“(The) victim actually never saw a gun,” said Sgt. Steve Phillips of the Visalia Police Department. The Woodlake man gave Gutierrez what he demanded and Gutierrez ran to a Pontiac Grand Prix sedan that was waiting.

Gutierrez hopped into the car, driven by Alicia Rojas, 24, of 1555 S. College Ave. in Visalia. The two drove off, but in the meantime, witnesses informed the police, according to Phillips.

The pair were spotted by Visalia Police and stopped at a gas station at the corner of Linwood and Mineral King, according to Phillips. Police officers found the Woodlake man’s phone inside the vehicle and took Gutierrez and Rojas into custody on charges of armed robbery and conspiring to commit armed robbery.

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