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Santa Maria Police Arrest Juvenile in Mini-Mart Robberies

A boy who allegedly robbed a Santa Maria convenience store has been taken into custody after police identified the suspect as a gang member and later linked him to a similar robbery that occurred last month in Arroyo Grande.

Santa Maria police detectives were investigating the Monday morning armed robbery of an AM/PM Mini-Market at 1611 S. Blosser Road when they identified one of the suspects as a juvenile who belongs to a gang, Sgt. Paul Van Meel said Wednesday.

Due to his age, police did not release the juvenile suspect’s identity.

Two males, including one with a rifle, entered the mini-market at 1:15 a.m. Monday and demanded cash, police said earlier. The robbers weren't successful in getting money, however, and stole miscellaneous items before leaving.

During the investigation, detectives linked the Santa Maria robbery to another one that occurred at 2:50 a.m. March 14 at an AM/PM store in Arroyo Grande, Van Meel said.

On Tuesday, detectives found the suspect in the 1600 block of North Pine Street in Santa Maria. After a brief foot chase, the suspect was apprehended and transported to the police station for further investigation. 

Later the same night, detectives served a search warrant in the 3900 block of Loch Lomond Drive and reportedly found evidence related to the robbery, Van Meel added.

The juvenile suspect was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and booked into Santa Maria Juvenile Hall.

After consulting with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, both the Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande robberies will be charged in conjunction in Santa Maria, police said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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