‘He was going to kill someone if we didn’t stop him.’ Police arrest robbery suspect

Mykel Roberts
Mykel Roberts

A man suspected in eight armed robberies throughout Modesto, Turlock and other parts of Stanislaus County was arrested Wednesday following a short pursuit in west Modesto.

During a robbery at a Chevron in Turlock early Wednesday morning the suspect fired a round at the clerk, said Modesto Police Detective John Locke.

“He was going to kill someone if we didn’t stop him,” he said.

Detectives identified the suspect with the help of the Stanislaus County Probation Department after he deviated from his regular pattern during a robbery at Little Caesar’s Pizza on Paradise Road about 10 hours after the Turlock robbery.

All of the previous seven robberies were at gas stations and mini-marts beginning on March 22.

Locke said the suspect would enter the businesses, usually with an accomplice but on three occasions alone, point a gun at employees and demand cash.

He started his robbery spree with a short-barrel AR15 style rifle but later switched to a chrome revolver, Locke said.

And the suspect and his accomplices always wore masks, but on Wednesday afternoon he did something different.

Authorities say Mykel Roberts entered the Little Caesars without a mask and acted as if he was a customer.

When all the other customers left the restaurant he motioned for someone to come inside. His accomplice entered the restaurant wearing a mask and pointed the chrome revolver allegedly used by Roberts in previous robberies at the clerk.

After the accomplice fled the restaurant, the employee actually locked Roberts inside the store with him, unaware he was working with the other suspect, Locke said.

Roberts said he needed to leave and the employee let him out.

About four hours later, after identifying Roberts, Gang Officer Cameron Cromwell spotted him in the area of Sutter and Rouse avenues, driving a Honda Accord that had been stolen from Turlock Wednesday morning.

Cromwell initiated a stop but Roberts drove away.

The pursuit was terminated a short time later for safety reasons but officers found the stolen Honda after it crashed into a parked car at Ustick and Lynne Renee Court.

Detectives got a search warrant for a home on Lynn Renee Court after a witness reported seeing Roberts enter it through the garage, Locke said.

He was found hiding inside and a 17-year-old who lives at the home was arrested on suspicion of obstructing officers.

Roberts was arrested on suspicion of multiple charges including robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

“During an interview with (Roberts) he admitted discarding the rifle and using a chrome revolver which we recovered in the stolen car that he crashed,” Locke said.

As the investigation progressed, Roberts was found to be the suspect in eight commercial robberies:

  • March 22 at 11:42 p.m. at Hatch Food and Gas on Hatch Road with an accomplice
  • March 26 at 2:41 a.m. at Stop N Save on Hatch Road with an accomplice
  • July 7 at 10:42 p.m. at Hatch Food and Gas on Hatch Road with an accomplice
  • July 15 at 2 a.m. at Quik Stop on Paradise Road with an accomplice
  • July 21 at 8:44 a.m. at Quik Stop on Paradise Road
  • July 26 at 3:20 a.m. at Quik Stop on Crows Landing Road
  • July 31 at 3:37 a.m. at Chevron on Geer Road in Turlock
  • July 31 at 1:52pm Little Caesar’s Pizza on Paradise Road involving an accomplice

Modesto Police are working to determine the identities of two or three accomplices.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636.

Erin has been covering breaking news and crime at The Modesto Bee since 2010. She is a Humboldt State graduate and resides in Oakdale.