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2 alleged robbers arrested after wild chase

August 16, 2010 12:44:35 AM PDT
Two people who allegedly robbed a shooting range in Azusa were arrested on the 10 Freeway in West Covina after a wild police chase during the morning commute on Monday.The suspects led more than two dozen police squad cars on a high-speed chase from Azusa to West Covina, traveling on the 60 Freeway, local streets and the 10 Freeway. Speeds reached up to 100 miles an hour as the pickup weaved through traffic and ran red lights.

Authorities said the chase began with a robbery at the Burro Canyon Shooting Park in Azusa at 6:38 a.m.

Tom Serrato, a shooting range employee, was on the range picking up brass when he heard a shot coming from near the office.

"He comes running out with a mask on. He had a gun in his hand and they both stared at me. I immediately put my truck in reverse and I backed up as far as I can," said Serrato. "I was very terrified that they were going to start shooting at me. Why he didn't, I don't know. But I got lucky."

When a second employee arrived at the Burro Canyon Shooting Park, he noticed the lock on the gate had been cut. Seconds later, he saw two people wearing masks speeding down the hill in a truck. The employee decided to chase them.

"At that point I pursued them down Highway 39, and part way down the canyon they started shooting at me. So at that point, I turned around to come back up here and make sure that everyone here was OK," said Matt Skolaski.

Skolaski said four or five shots were fired at him, but he was not hurt. In the meantime, Serrato ran in to the office to call 911.

Authorities spotted the white pickup truck a short time later. The suspects then led them on a dangerous pursuit that lasted about 40 minutes.

The pursuit ended on the eastbound 10 Freeway at Holt Avenue in West Covina just after 7 a.m.

At one point, the male driver got out of the car to surrender, but then got up and briefly began the chase again, as deputies ran back into their cars. The suspect stopped the truck a second time, and Trevor Kuk, 27, of Arcadia, and Maria Martinez, 23, of Los Angeles, were taken into custody.

"We have talked about what we would do in the event that it would happen, always thinking that nobody would be dumb enough to rob a shooting range. Somebody was, and they got caught," said Joe Cavanaugh, owner of the shooting range.

Cavanaugh said the suspects took three or four rifle scopes and a small amount of ammunition.

Kuk and Martinez were each booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and commercial burglary, with bail set at $250,000.


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