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Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department
Saturday November 17th, 2018 :: 06:52 a.m. PST


Vigilant Deputy Thwarts Armed Bank Robbery

Modesto CA – Six Monterey County men are in Stanislaus County Jail after being arrested as they prepared to rob a Modesto bank on Friday afternoon. The suspects were armed and in the process of disguising themselves while sitting in a stolen car in the bank parking lot when detectives from Stanislaus County, Modesto Police Department and StanCATT took them into custody.

The incident started at around 1:00 AM on Friday 11/16 when Deputy Kyle Christianson located a stolen Nissan Altima parked in an apartment complex near Celeste and Vera Cruz in Modesto. Christianson watched the vehicle throughout his shift as he got in touch with detectives from The Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force (StanCATT). StanCATT surveilled the vehicle and requested assistance from the Sheriff’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to assist in the event the vehicle went mobile.

As detectives were watching the vehicle, several suspects arrived in additional vehicles and were observed removing license plates and putting paper plates on the vehicles. Several men were seen loading items into the stolen Altima. Six men then got into four vehicles and drove towards McHenry Avenue with detectives following them. Once they arrived at the parking lot near McHenry and Leveland Lane, four of the men got into the stolen Altima and began putting on masks and disguising their identities. As this was happening, the other two men, one in a Honda Pilot and another in a Nissan Versa began driving back and forth on McHenry in front of the bank.

At approximately 3:00 PM, Sheriff’s SIU detectives requested assistance from Modesto Police detectives as they moved in to detain the suspects in the stolen Altima. SIU detectives arrested Jesus Robledo (25 Salinas), Enrique Lopez (27 Soledad), Victor Bravo (23 Soledad) and Moises Garcia (26 Soledad) from the stolen Altima. Detectives located two assault rifles, two handguns, masks, gloves and a duffle bag inside the stolen car.

As SIU was arresting the suspects in the stolen Altima, Modesto Police detectives stopped a Honda Pilot, driven by Robert Zavala (23 Soledad) in front of the .99 Cent Store near the banks on McHenry and took him into custody. Additional MPD detectives stopped a Nissan Versa driven by Cesar Lemus (19 Soledad) and detained him in the parking lot of The Burlington Coat Factory.

“This is a classic example of how a major incident can be averted by vigilant patrol deputies working with investigative units to get bad guys off the street,” said Sheriff-Elect Jeff Dirkse. “Deputy Christianson’s actions in locating this stolen vehicle and contacting detectives was instrumental in preventing an armed bank robbery on a busy Friday afternoon in the middle of Modesto. Detectives did an amazing job of taking down a car full of gang members armed to the teeth, just minutes before they entered the bank and put the public at risk. I couldn’t be more proud of the teamwork within the Sheriff’s Department as well as the assist from StanCATT and Modesto Police.”

Several of the arrested suspects have lengthy criminal histories including robbery, kidnapping, weapons and drug charges as well as evading and resisting police and being members of criminal street gangs. Detectives from Riverbank Police Services are assisting Sheriff’s Department detectives in the investigation and trying to determine if these suspects may have been involved in two recent takeover robberies at the Wells Fargo bank in Riverbank. Detectives have also reached out to Turlock PD and other agencies who have had recent takeover robberies at banks.

“This was a very sophisticated and meticulously planned out robbery,” said Dirkse. “These gang members had several vehicles in the area working as lookouts and getaway drivers. They had covered their tattoos and were using masks and gloves to disguise themselves. They had some serious weaponry and had a plan. One thing they didn’t plan for was Deputy Christianson finding their stolen robbery car the night before they set their plan into action.”

All six suspects were booked at the Public Safety Center for violation of 664/211 PC Attempted Robbery and 182(a)(1) PC Criminal Conspiracy. Robledo was additionally charged with 29800(a)(1) PC Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Bravo had an additional charge of 496(d) PC Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. The investigation continued into the evening and will be ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Detective Brian Carter at 209-525-7075.

Sergeant Tom Letras will not be available for follow up questions or interviews until 4:00 PM today. If you have any questions prior to that, please contact the Sheriff’s Department Watch Commander at 209-525-7188.

If you have any tips, you can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters can also e-mail tips at, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus the message and be eligible for a cash reward


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Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department
250 Hackett Road
Modesto, CA 95358

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