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Three arrests linked to local crimes


Last updated 7/19/2007 at Noon

Three arrests made in the past week by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department have clear links to Fallbrook crime, authorities say.

Enrique Valdez, 24, and Juan Flores, 49, both of Oceanside, were arrested Thursday, July 12, in connection to what authorities say may amount to 17 individual armed robberies in North County, three of which were committed at Bonsall Village Market near the intersection of SR76 and Olive Hill Road. The Bonsall robberies were committed on February 23, May 7 and July 9.

“We were able to link several of the North County robberies together to these suspects,” Fallbrook Detective Jeff Lauhon reported. “Detectives from various stations worked together, shared information and have been able to build the case.”

Lauhon says Valdez and Flores both have violent criminal histories and, upon arrest July 12 following a robbery attempt in San Marcos, were initially charged with three counts of armed robbery, felony evading arrest, being convicted felons in possession of firearms and, possibly, attempted murder, because their last robbery involved an exchange of gunfire with the owner of the establishment.

In addition to Bonsall and San Marcos, the duo reportedly committed robberies in Escondido, Oceanside, San Diego, Carlsbad, Del Mar and Encinitas.

On Friday, July 13, at 3:17 a.m., a phone call from a Fallbrook citizen led a Sheriff’s Deputy to apprehend a suspect believed guilty of car theft and vehicle robbery.

The citizen called the Sheriff’s Department after observing two individuals wandering around an apartment complex in the 600 block of Ammunition Road, reporting it as suspicious behavior. When the officer responded to the call, he located the car being used by the two suspects and found it to be reported as stolen.

“Deputy Wagner found the car and tried to pull the suspects over,” Lauhon said. “When they didn’t stop, it evolved into a high speed pursuit through Fallbrook and through Bonsall into Vista.” A Vista deputy assisted Wagner’s effort by deploying a tack strip on East Vista Way that helped disable the vehicle.

Lauhon said the vehicle pursuit continued for 20 minutes through the city of Vista and ended at Foothill and San Clemente, where it turned into a foot pursuit. After a lengthy foot pursuit, a Sheriff’s canine from Vista apprehended the suspect.

Arrested was Christopher Rodriguez, 19, of Vista, who was transported to Tri City Medical Center for treatment of dog bites.

“There was stolen property in the car, from vehicle burglaries, that was recovered,” Lauhon said. “Rodriguez was charged with auto theft, possession of stolen property and evading arrest – all felonies.” Lauhon said the passenger in the vehicle escaped.

“The apprehension of Rodriguez was a case of veteran deputies doing an outstanding job,” Lauhon said. “This case is also a fine example of a citizen being aware of their surroundings and notifying the Sheriff’s Department when things aren’t right.”


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