A boy and two men ranging in age from 15 to 24 were arrested for allegedly stealing beer from two Costa Mesa gas station mini-marts and attacking a 49-year-old store manager who tried to stop them, police said today.
The adult suspects were identified by Costa Mesa police as 19-year-old Rene Alex Ramirez and 24-year-old Raymond Lee Magallanez, both of Costa Mesa. Police withheld the name of the teenager, who is from Riverside, because of his age.
Ramirez and Magallanez were described by police as known gang members. Police said the 15-year-old has possible gang ties.
According to Costa Mesa police Lt. Greg Scott, Ramirez entered the Arco gas station mini-mart at 2021 Newport Blvd. around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, went directly to the cooler, took an 18-pack of beer and then left the store without paying.
The store clerk recognized Ramirez as a former classmate, Scott said.
Around 7:30 p.m. the same day, police were called to a US Gas station and mini-mart at 2502 Harbor Blvd. where the manager said two males -- later identified as Ramirez and the 15-year-old boy -- had taken three 18-packs of beer and left without paying, Scott said.
In the store parking lot, they met up with Magallanez and handed him one of the 18-packs, Scott said.
The manager chased the suspects as they walked north on Harbor Boulevard and tried to take the beer back, but in an ensuing struggle the victim was knocked to the ground, then kicked and beaten by all three suspects, Scott said, adding that one suspect also threw a can of beer at the manager, striking him.
Witnesses who saw the struggle followed the suspects to an apartment complex at 400 Merrimac Way and called 911, according to Scott.
"On-duty detectives and patrol officers contacted and identified all three suspects, who were then arrested," Scott said.
The suspects were booked on suspicion of robbery and burglary. Ramirez and Magallanez were being held at the Orange County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail apiece and the juvenile was booked into Orange County Juvenile Hall, Scott said.
The manager, who suffered minor abrasions, contusions and small cuts to his head face and arms, was treated at the scene and declined to be taken to a hospital, Scott said.
--City News Service