Police make arrest in San Benito theft, robbery case

The San Benito Police Department has arrested a person of interest in connection to a theft of a motor vehicle and aggravated robbery that occurred late last week, according to a press release from the department.

On Thursday, SBPD responded to an early morning vehicle theft and a robbery of a grocery store shortly thereafter, according to the release. It stated that SBPD is withholding the identity of the suspect pending completion of the investigation and formal arraignment, according to Interim Police Chief Fred Bell.

“Officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle at 6:45 a.m. and began securing video from the store and nearby businesses. The vehicle, an older model Ford Ranger was reportedly unlocked with the keys in the ignition and was running at the time it was stolen,” SBPD stated.

At 8:45 a.m., police were notified of an aggravated robbery at gunpoint at the Rodriguez Grocery Store and learned that the vehicle used in the incident matched that of the stolen vehicle, according to the release. The department said the victim who reported the incident told officers the subject took cash and cigarettes.

Officers were able to identify the suspect on video before receiving an anonymous tip on where they could find the suspect that afternoon, at approximately 3 p.m., according to the release.

“Upon receiving permission to search a home on the 100 block of Helena Street, the suspect was located inside and taken into custody without incident. The stolen vehicle was recovered outside the city limits and is being processed for additional evidence,” the department wrote.

Interim Chief Bell used the opportunity to remind the community that leaving a vehicle running while unattended is against the law, stating, “This should serve as a reminder to everyone not to leave vehicles unattended while the engine is running. It is against the law and there are consequences.”

“I would like to thank the Good Samaritan who provided the information that led to the apprehension of the suspect. It certainly expedited our efforts. Also, I would like to commend the dedication and applaud the actions of the San Benito Police Department in their commitment of service to this community,” he said.