SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) Two suspects have been arrested in a string of robberies, according to the Santa Cruz Police Department.
Police say it all started on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Officers responded to a report of an armed robbery in progress just after 10 p.m. at a Domino's Pizza on the 2200 block of Mission St. Police say the suspect was armed with a semi-automatic pistol and pointed it at the store clerk during the time of the crime. But when officers arrived at the scene the suspect had already fled.
However, the robberies continue just 20 minutes later at a Valero gas station on the 1300 block of Ocean St. Officers say that the suspect matched the description of the first robbery.
Then 10 minutes later, another in-progress armed robbery was reported at Lloyd's Liquors on the 300 block of Soquel Ave. Officers say that's when they learned that all three robberies were connected.
Police say there was also a fourth in-progress armed robbery before the three that were mentioned, however, it's unknown if it was connected to the others. That case is still under investigation.
After sifting through hours of surveillance footage and following up on multiple leads, detectives say they were able to identify 21-year-old Manuel Alejandro Montoya, a resident of Santa Cruz County, as the suspect.
Police issued an arrest warrant for Montoya on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Detectives later spotted him at around 4:30 p.m. inside a vehicle driving southbound on the 700 block of Ocean St. Police were able to meet at the scene and arrest Montoya.
During his arrest, another female was with him. Police identified her as 28-year-old Leilani Marie Allen, a resident of Santa Cruz County. Investigators later discovered Allen was the getaway driver for Montoya during all of the robberies.
Both Montoya and Allen have been booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail. Montoya was booked on the warrant issued for multiple counts of 211 PC-Robbery and 182(a)(1) PC-Conspiracy. Allen was booked for multiple counts of 211 PC-Robbery, 182(a)(1) PC-Conspiracy and 32 PCAccessory.
The Santa Cruz Police Department said that they also received help from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office as well as the Modesto Police Department.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Detective Taylor Trueblood with Santa Cruz Police Department at (831) 420-5837.