Fresno police catch 3 in armed jewelry store heist
Apr 10, 2012 (The Fresno Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
One of three men arrested in connection with the smash-and-grab armed robbery of a southeast Fresno jewelry store last month was a recently released Army veteran who provided the crew with military-grade body armor and an assault rifle, Chief Jerry Dyer said Tuesday.
The three -- Justin McLean, 24, Cory Gray, 27, and Raymundo Segura, 43 -- are believed to be linked to the March 28 robbery at Don Roberto's Jewelers on Kings Canyon Road at Chestnut Avenue.
McLean recently was discharged from the Army, and Dyer said it's likely that he used skills acquired in the service to become adept at committing stressful crimes such as armed robbery.
"[Military] training allows individuals to be cool under fire," he said. McLean is a member of the Crips street gang who was a gang member before he joined the military, police said.
Dyer said it's possible the three were involved in other robberies and, if not arrested, probably would have struck again.
Video shows two men -- one armed with a handgun and a second holding a hammer -- entering Don Roberto's about 5 p.m. on March 28. The hammer-wielding man begins smashing glass cases and grabbing rings and other items inside before cutting his hand on glass. The second man also smashes cases with the butt of the handgun and snatches jewelry.
Dyer said the pair got away in a black Chrysler driven by a third person. It is believed that they made off with about $138,000 worth of merchandise and $500 in cash.
A witness was able to spot the last digit on the Chrysler's license number -- a "2." That helped police narrow their search, and on April 4 officers targeted homes on the 4200 block of East Thomas Avenue (near Highway 180 and Cedar Avenue) and the 2900 block of East Pine Avenue (behind San Joaquin Memorial High School).
Dyer said Segura was arrested wearing a stolen ruby ring and also had three handguns.
Police were able to identify Gray from palm prints left at the robbery scene and went to an apartment on the 6000 block of North Augusta Avenue (near Bullard Avenue and Fresno Street) where the getaway car was found, Dyer said. Gray was arrested when he drove up during the search.
Police arrested McLean the next day and recovered the body armor and the rifle.
Dyer indicated that he was disturbed by McLean's coolness when he was questioned by detectives. He asked to view the videotape of the robbery so that he could time himself, possibly in preparation for future crimes, the chief said.
Although the jewelry was valued at $138,000 by the jeweler, the alleged bandits only netted $800 when they sold it to other jewelry stores, Dyer said.
Police are asking for help from area jewelers who may have unknowingly bought stolen loot.
The reporter may be reached at (559) 441-6339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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