Columbus armed robbery suspect recaptured after escaping

Published 3:06 pm Monday, November 3, 2008

An armed robbery suspect escaped from custody Tuesday night in Columbus, but was later apprehended off Peak Street.

La Surenita store, located at 411 East Mills Street in Columbus, was the victim of an armed robbery last Friday night. A search warrant was executed Tuesday at the suspect&39;s home. During the search, the suspect fled from his home, according to Lt. Chris Beddingfield of the Columbus Police Department.

The armed robbery at La Surenita was called in around 8 p.m. last Friday as a disturbance; officers later discovered it was an armed robbery. The suspects were wearing masks and fled the scene on foot prior to officers&squo; arrival. Approximately $3,000 in cash was allegedly stolen during the incident.

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Enrique Lopez, 25, of 521 S. Peak Street Lot 7, who was later&bsp; believed to be named Felipe Garcia, was arrested and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon. Garcia was also charged with felony breaking and entering and felony larceny in connection with an earlier incident at La Guerrera at 222 East Mills Street. The earlier incident involved the suspects destroying the door and stealing prepaid phone cards and cigarettes, Beddingfield said.

During the search at his home, Garcia was handcuffed while deputies were investigating. Garcia fled on foot to the woods and was later apprehended with the help of the Polk County Sheriff&squo;s Office, specifically Lt. Matt Prince and his search dogs, Cruzer and Armor. Cruzer tracked the suspect and apprehended him.

Also arrested in the two robberies was Juan Valentin Cervantes, 17, of 521 South Peak Street, Lot 7. Cervantes was also charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony breaking and entering and felony larceny, according to Beddingfield.

Beddingfield says the apprehension of the suspects was a joint effort between the Columbus Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff&squo;s Office. Polk County Sheriff Chris Abril assisted greatly in translating for the police department, including on Tuesday night and follow up interviews.

The police department also&bsp; used the assistance of the N.C. Wildlife officer Toby Jenkins and used the Columbus Fire Department&squo;s thermal imaging camera during the search for Garcia.

Garcia is also wanted in Idaho for a probation violation related to drug offenses, according to Beddingfield.

Some of the cash was recovered as well as some of the stolen phone cards.

Both Garcia and Cervantes are being held at the Polk County Jail under $25,000 bonds each.