Update: Fruita Police Department Investigators have determined that the February 21, 2011 car-jacking incident was not a random act. During the last week, a large amount of cash was found in a hidden compartment of the Dodge Nitro by law enforcement. The cash is a substantial amount and has not been claimed by the owner of the vehicle. That large amount of cash was likely the motivation behind the vehicle being stolen at gun point.
One suspect was arrested on-scene in Mack, the evening of February 21, 2011, within hours of this 4 p.m. incident in Fruita. At this time, the second suspect who was seen by law enforcement fleeing the stolen Dodge Nitro near the intersection of R and 10 Roads, has not been arrested. That suspect, who has not been identified by law enforcement, could possibly have left the area, including leaving the Country for Mexico.
The Fruita Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office want residents of the area to know there were no local people involved or targeted in this event. Citizens should remain on the lookout for the second suspect and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement by calling 911.
Previously Released at 2 p.m.— The Fruita Police Department investigation has determined that the car-jacking incident that occurred on February 21, 2011, at 4:01 p.m., at the Gofer convenience store was not a random act. Sgt. John Coughran, Fruita Police Department and MCSO PIO Heather Benjamin will be available at the Sheriff’s Office today at 3pm to discuss this further with the local media. This is being done to best accommodate our local media’s needs and to provide a unified communication event.
Previously Released on February 22, 2011— Around 4 p.m. on February 21, 2011, a car-jacking and armed robbery occurred at the Gofer convenience store located at 106 South Park Square, in Fruita, Colo. Around that same time, Fruita Police Department officers learned of a stolen black pick-up truck from the Fruita Community Recreation Center, located at 324 North Coulson Street, in Fruita. It is believed the same two suspects are connected to both incidents.
By 5:15 p.m., multiple agencies were in pursuit of a white Dodge Nitro, the same vehicle believed to be stolen from the convenience store. Fruita Police Department officers recovered the stolen black truck near Highway 139 and Interstate 70, where it had been abandoned.
Sheriff’s deputies, Colorado State Patrol troopers and Fruita Police Department officers pursued the stolen Dodge Nitro along I-70 eastbound from the state line to the Loma exit (Highway 139). They continued north on Highway 139 to Highway 6 & 50 where the suspect vehicle turned west. Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle with stop-sticks near Mack, but the suspects successfully avoided the sticks. Shortly thereafter, the suspects abandoned the second stolen vehicle at the intersection of R Road and 10 Road, in Mack, Colo.
Two suspects were seen running from the stolen vehicle by law enforcement. Around 7p.m., members of the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team arrested one suspect believed to be connected to this case. Fruita Police Department officers booked that suspect into the Mesa County Detention Facility. That suspect is German Martinez-Riveria, 32, of Los Angeles, Calif. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents placed an immigration hold on Martinez-Riveria when he was booked into jail.
Troopers, Fruita and Grand Junction Police Department officers and deputies (including SWAT members) remained on-scene in Mack late into the night searching for the second suspect. By midnight, the majority of law enforcement had cleared the scene leaving a handful of deputies in the area overnight.
This morning, SWAT members from the Sheriff’s Office, deputies and troopers returned to the Mack area to continue searching buildings, residences and fields for the second suspect. That suspect is described as an adult Hispanic male in his 20’s, wearing dark clothing that is likely muddy and wet.
People are encouraged to call 911 to report any suspicious activity in the Mack area. Additionally, law enforcement officers recommend that no one should pick-up any hitch hikers. Residents were escorted to and from their homes for a short time last night by deputies, but today people are allowed to come and go freely.
Due to the multi-agency incident, all media will be handled by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer. This press release is being issued in an effort to get the correct information out to the residents of Mesa County, through the assistance of the local media.
Due to the on-going investigation, including the need to do photo line-ups, both the affidavit and booking photo for Martinez-Riveria is not being released at this time.