Police have arrested six men in connection with a violent robbery spree in Mesa and other communities, where the assailants beat a store owner, fired off rounds and bound a child with cable ties.
The crimes began Feb. 10 in Phoenix and the last one occurred Oct. 13 in Mesa, police said. One robbery took place in Buckeye. Authorities believe the men stole about $365,000 during the seven robberies.
“It was very brazen,” said John Meza, Mesa assistant police chief. “They’re not going in there covering their faces.”
Meza said the men cased mostly small food stores and struck during times when they likely had more cash. The men were organized and divided responsibilities, said Mesa police Chief George Gascón. In one robbery, the group was able to bind the hands of 14 people.
“They were doing their homework,” Meza said.
Because the robberies were exceptionally violent and well planned, Gascón assembled a team of eight detectives and a sergeant to solve the crimes.
The detectives conducted interviews, surveillance and gathered forensic evidence to close in on the suspects.
Officials said they have DNA evidence and fingerprints linking the men to the robberies.
Arrested on Sunday were Juan Mendez, 32, Mesa; Kalib Jivran Mondragon, 21, Gilbert; Humberto Ochoa-Alvardo, 30, Gilbert; Juan Felipe Torres, 25, Gilbert; Javier Rodriguez Robledo, 26, Mesa, and Miguel Mendez, 35, Mesa. Four of the men are illegal immigrants, police said.