Salinas Jewelry heist suspects caught

SALINAS (KRON)  — Salinas police arrested three people in connection with armed robberies at two jewelry stories in Salinas last month, police said Wednesday.

Rigoberto Torres, 22, of Castroville, and Freddy Robledo, 22, of Soledad, were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping for ransom, according to jail records.

Torres is also suspected of robbery, according to jail records.

Emeli Soto, 19, of Salinas, was also arrested on suspicion of robbery for receiving stolen property and destroying or concealing evidence, according to jail records.

Police determined that Torres and Robledo orchestrated the robberies.

Soto was in a relationship with Robledo and was aware of both robberies, according to police.

On July 3 shortly after noon, officers responded to a report at Don Roberto Jewelers at 1033 E. Alisal St., where Torres and Robledo allegedly jumped out of a car parked in front of the store, police said.

One of the men armed with a silver handgun took hold a 4-year-old boy with his mom outside of the store and threatened to shoot the child if the store’s owners didn’t hand over keys to a display case, police said.

The owners complied with the demand and the man with the handgun handed over the child to the second suspect, who was armed with a shotgun, according to police.

The first suspect stole the jewelry from the business and both suspects fled in the vehicle, police said.

The child was not injured in the robbery, but was confused and scared, according
to police.

The men also allegedly robbed the company’s other store at 1554 N. Main St. in a similar fashion shortly after 1:30 p.m. on July 20, when they forced a pregnant customer to the back of the business, police said.

The suspects stole jewelry and fled in a vehicle later found abandoned by a parole agent, according to police.

The pregnant customer was treated by emergency crews and released at the scene, police said.

The men masked their faces with bandannas during both robberies, police said.

It appears Soto worked with the men in the July 20 robbery, but police have not specified what her role was.


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