Police catch suspected strong-arm robber in El Centro

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EL CENTRO – A suspected strong-arm robber was apprehended by El Centro police after a successful manhunt early Tuesday afternoon, according to a press release from the police department.

El Centro police officers were dispatched to a robbery at 11:47 p.m. near Fifth Street and Brighton Avenue after a caller reported having her purse and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card stolen. Officers arrived and met with the victim, and during their contact, they learned the original incident actually occurred in the 500 block of Orange Avenue, the press release said.

As officers worked to gather evidence, the victim reportedly identified the suspect as Javier Guerena, a 24-year‐old Heber resident.

The victim informed officers the suspect had allegedly requested she turn over her EBT card which she refused to do. Reportedly, the suspect then “grabbed and pulled” on the victim’s purse and a struggle ensued. According to reports, the victim attempted to ward off the suspect’s attempts to remove the purse from her arms, but was unsuccessful and he fled on foot with the purse.

Officers on scene noted the victim’s arm was bruised and she reportedly confirmed the injuries were caused by the struggle over the purse. The area was immediately checked and officers located the suspect and arrested him without incident. The purse and EBT card were recovered and returned to the victim and Guerena was booked at the county jail on suspicion of strong‐arm robbery.

“The safety of the community we serve is our utmost priority in these trying times. It is our hope we can continue to deliver the excellent service our officers are known for and have shown in this incident,” Robert Sawyer, El Centro police commander said in the press release.