Pittsburg, California – Earlier this week, a court ordered the release of three men from detention who are facing 19 charges of felony armed robbery in connection with a crime spree throughout the East Bay that began in August. The suspects were released from custody on Friday, according to police.
Three males who have been accused of multiple armed robberies have been released, according to the Pittsburg Police Department, which posted about the release on their Twitter and Facebook pages.
Between August and November of last year, three Pittsburg men — identified as Samuel Banales-Melena, 18 years old, Jonathan Medina-Flores, 20, and Rogelio Medina-Flores, 18 years old — are suspected of participating in an armed three-month crime spree that targeted over two dozen businesses in Antioch, Pittsburg, Concord, Brentwood, Bay Point, and Clayton. According to the authorities, seven of the armed robberies occurred in Pittsburg.
In response to the series of crimes in the East Bay, law enforcement agencies from each of the cities impacted started cooperating to identify suspects and put an end to the spree, according to the department.
A couple of months ago, on Nov. 3, Concord police were investigating a similar robbery in their city and alerted neighboring law enforcement agencies, providing a description of the car linked with the crime. Shortly later, the suspect car was tracked down and stopped in the city of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. All three of the men in the car were taken into custody.
According to the officers, they discovered evidence of the Concord robbery in their truck. Additional evidence of previous robberies was discovered during later investigations of other Pittsburg residences, according to Antioch police. Investigators from numerous jurisdictions presented their evidence to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office, which subsequently filed charges against the suspects two days after they were apprehended. Apart from robbing the businesses, the three men were also accused of robbing both staff and consumers.
According to the Antioch Police Department, it was the teamwork of the law enforcement agencies engaged in the investigation that made this case a success. “This investigation weighed heavily on the implementation and use of technology, including license plate-reading cameras in the city of Antioch and other technological surveillance efforts,” the Antioch Police Department said.
The District Attorney’s Office investigated the cases and filed felony robbery charges against the three individuals, as well as enhancements against them. The three suspects appeared in Contra Costa County Superior Court on November 29 for a preliminary hearing. Following the hearing of testimony from detectives and police, as well as a substantial amount of evidence, the presiding judge ordered that all three men be detained in custody to answer for 19 counts of armed robbery, with a jury trial scheduled for a later date in the future.
The county’s Custody Alternative Program denied all three men from being released into its custody because of the violent nature of the crimes they were charged with, police said, but the judge was hesitant to allow the men to stay in prison and overruled the program’s denial.
According to Pittsburg police, the court allowed the release of all three men to a private contracted organization, where they would be put in that company’s alternative custody program, which will include an electronic ankle monitoring device. In the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 5, the three suspects were released from custody.
“It is with concern for our community and our commitment to keep our citizens and businesses safe, the Pittsburg Police Department is providing this information,” the statement released by the Department read.