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Men use tree branch to rob OC gas station

December 1, 2010 12:58:30 AM PST
Suspects used a large branch as their weapon of choice to threaten a gas station employee during a robbery in Irvine.Surveillance video shows the clerk talking with the first suspect, who pretended he wanted to buy tires from the Shell gas station on the night of November 22.

Soon after, a second suspect wielding a 3-foot-long tree limb demanded money from the clerk. The suspect threatened to hit the victim and swung the branch at him to get him to comply. The clerk, fearing he would be struck, complied and opened the drawer.

Police said the two got away with several hundred dollars in cash and several packs of cigarettes. They were seen leaving in a blue Ford minivan.

Police identified the suspect with the weapon as Herlin Mendezla, 28, of Buena Park. He was arrested after police responded to an anonymous tip and found the vehicle used in the getaway.

Police continued to search for the other suspect, described as a 6-foot tall Hispanic male, weighing 160 pounds and wearing gold wire-rimmed glasses, a black long sleeve shirt, black pants and black dress shoes.

Police call the method of using a tree limb to rob a store unusual, but still dangerous.

Anyone with any information about the robbery is asked to call Irvine police at (949) 724-7000.


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