Modesto police arrested three teenagers suspected of robbing a 68-year-old man in a north Modesto parking lot after they hit him on the head, knocking him to the ground.
Investigators later discovered evidence that links the three teenagers to a similar robbery Sunday in an east Modesto parking lot, said Sgt. Craig Gundlach, a Modesto police spokesman.
Both victims suffered minor injuries.
Detectives are looking into the teenagers' possible involvement in four muggings last week in Modesto, Gundlach said.
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Reginald Currie, 19, Charles Threets, 18, and a 14-year-old boy, all from Modesto, were arrested on suspicion of two felony counts of robbery, Gundlach said. Police did not release the boy's name because he is a minor.
About 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, a Modesto man was walking in the parking lot of the Barnes & Noble bookstore at 3501 McHenry Ave.
Gundlach said the three teenagers attacked the man from behind. While the victim was on the ground, they stole money from his pocket.
Witnesses described the suspects' vehicle to police, and an officer spotted the car in the area of Celeste and Rose avenues shortly after the robbery.
Police stopped the car and witnesses identified the three teenagers as the suspects. Investigators later searched the car and found evidence that linked the them to Sunday's robbery, Gundlach said.
That holdup occurred about 11:45 a.m. A 50-year-old Modesto man was walking to his car in the parking lot of Orchard Supply Hardware on Oakdale Road, when he was approached by two young men who asked him for change.
When the victim said he didn't have any, one of them hit him in the face, police said. The robbers took the victim's wallet from his pants pocket and ran away.
Gundlach said the descriptions given in last week's muggings resemble the three teenagers. Detectives are investigating the possibility the robberies are connected.
The muggings occurred between 9:30 and 10:55 p.m. July 11, when two men used intimidation to steal property from four victims, police said.
One victim went to the hospital for treatment of a severe cut after one of the robbers hit him in the head with a skateboard. Three cell phones, cash and a purse were stolen, police said.
Modesto police ask anyone with information about the robberies to call CrimeStoppers at 521-4636. Callers to CrimeStoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward. Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.