Police / Fire

Police make arrest in pharmacy robberies

36-year-old Hollister resident arrested on suspicion of four robberies over the past seven months
duarte pharmacy suspect.jpg

On Friday, March 10, Hollister Police personnel served two search warrants in Hollister related to a series of armed robberies of pharmacies that had occurred over the past six months in town. Hollister resident Rodolfo Duarte, 36, was arrested for those robberies and booked at the county jail as a result of the search warrants.

The string of pharmacy robberies dates back to Aug. 29, 2016, at Rite Aid Pharmacy, 1701 Airline Hwy. There were robberies at ANSR Pharmacy at 581 McCray St. on Nov. 17 and Dec. 27, 2016, and pharmacy at Lucky supermarket on McCray Street was robbed on Feb. 6.

According to an HPD press release, detectives have been "conducting extensive follow-up after each one of these incidents," working with surveillance footage, in conjunction with employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the motorcycle industry. HPD personnel and area law enforcement had been searching for a specific and identifiable motorcycle for some time.

On March 9, one of the investigators in the case was on the way home for the day and spotted the suspect motorcycle in town at a local repair shop. A search warrant was written and granted the next morning.

“We have been working this case for a long time," said Police Chief David Westrick. "This was the break in the case we needed."

According to the HPD, the search warrant was served by patrol officers, school resource officers, and investigators on March 10. This search warrant revealed further evidence that led investigators to a house in the 1600 block of Valley View Road. Another search warrant was served at that location later that evening by Hollister Police officers, with the assistance of San Benito Sheriff’s deputies, San Benito County Probation, and members of the UNET Task Force.

Items located and at the residence tied the suspect, Duarte, to the crimes. He was located, arrested and interviewed, and then booked into the San Benito County Jail on four counts of robbery and four counts of burglary. His bail is set at $220,000.

Anyone with information regarding these investigations are requested to contact Detective Bo Leland at The Hollister Police Department at 831-638-4115. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward.

BenitoLink Staff