Decorated Veteran Now Accused Fresno Thief
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
Amparo Gutierrez watched the drama unfold from inside her store a couple weeks ago.
"We just see a guy, he was robbing the jewelry store and then he has a lot of bunch of jewelry in his hands. And he's just running," Gutierrez said.
Minutes earlier, two men stormed inside Don Roberto Jeweler's next door, armed with a gun and smashed cases. They left with $138,000 worth of jewelry.
"In fact there were 161 items that were taken. The vast majority of those were rings, many of those being diamond rings. There were also some bracelets taken," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
Police relied on palm prints left behind at the store to identify one of the men involved.
Another thing that helped them out is the police camera on Kings Canyon and Winery.
The camera showed the getaway car going through the intersection.
Police saw what direction they were going and were able to identify another man involved.
"In speaking with our investigators, they believe these individuals were at the front end of a violent crime spree within our community. That there were plans, significant plans to conduct other robberies in the city of Fresno," Dyer said.
Arrested were 42-year-old Raymundo Segura, 27-year-old Corey Gray and 24-year-old Justin McLean.
McLean is not only an army veteran, but a Purple Heart recipient.
Now he's just another thug roaming Fresno's streets.
"It's always a concern to us when you take an individual that has military training, access to weapons, has a history of being involved in gangs, and chooses to use that training and experience to go out and commit violent crimes," Dyer said.
In McLean's possession, police found cocaine, an assault rifle, clothes used in the robbery and a ballistic vest with shock plates taken from the military.
"He asked if he could see this video of the robbery. He said the reason is because he wanted to time himself to see how fast he could do the robbery," Dyer said.
Amparo says she plans to keep her guard up.
"Very scary because we don't know what's going to happen with us; especially since this is not the first time," she said.
But she's hoping this time was the last.
All of the men arrested were booked into the Fresno County Jail.
Raymundo Segura has been released due to overcrowding.
Justin McLean posted bail and was released.
Corey Gray is the only person who remains behind bars.
McLean told police that much of the jewelry, worth more than $100,000, was sold to another local jeweler for just $800.
Now police are trying to track down that jeweler and get the jewelry back to its rightful owner.