Stockton man arrested in string of Modesto robberies

03/06/2014 2:01 PM

03/06/2014 5:39 PM

A Stockton man was arrested on suspicion of committing three robberies in four hours Wednesday at businesses on Oakdale Road in Modesto.

The first robbery was shortly before 9 a.m. at a Subway restaurant in the 800 block of Oakdale Road. Video surveillance shows the suspect entered the store, pointed a handgun at employees and demanded cash, said Modesto police Sgt. Ivan Valencia.

He took money and was seen leaving the area in a gray, four-door SUV.

The suspect was white, in his early 20s, and wearing dark sunglasses, a gray jacket and dark-colored “skinny jeans,” Valencia said.

About 30 minutes later, a suspect with the same description robbed Hair Repair in the 900 block of Oakdale Road. The suspect entered the business and appeared to have a gun under his jacket. He demanded money from a woman inside the business and then fled in a gray SUV.

The victim got in her car and followed the suspect for a short distance, Valencia said. Surveillance video was obtained from a neighboring business and the suspect appeared to be the same man who robbed the Subway a few minutes earlier.

At 12:53 p.m., officers were dispatched to another robbery, at Asian Massage, which is in the same shopping center as Hair Repair.

The suspect once again entered the business and brandished a handgun. He obtained an undisclosed amount of money and fled in a gray SUV. Surveillance video confirmed it was the same suspect from the earlier robberies, Valencia said.

A picture of the suspect was released on social media and to media outlets. Surveillance footage of the suspect and his vehicle also were shared with the Ripon Police Department.

Valencia said detectives sent the photos to Ripon because three suspects who robbed a bank there last week fled the scene in a gray SUV. Ripon detectives determined that the Modesto suspect wasn’t among the three Ripon suspects, Valencia said, but a Ripon police officer who saw the photo said he remembered stopping the suspect in February for running a stop sign.

The officer identified the suspect as 21-year-old Christopher Dial.

The officer remembered Dial because he found him to be in possession of a realistic-looking BB gun, Valencia said. The officer completed a report on his contact with Dial that included pictures of the suspect, his vehicle and the BB gun. The information was provided to Modesto police detectives for follow-up.

Meanwhile, family members and acquaintances of Dial who saw the surveillance photos called police to say that they knew him.

Modesto police Detective Adam Messer learned that Dial was at a relative’s home in Stockton. With the assistance of the Stockton Police Department, Dial was taken into custody during a vehicle stop about 6:30 p.m.

He was arrested on suspicion of three counts of robbery and booked at the Stanislaus County jail.

Police ask anyone who may have information regarding the robberies to please call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

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