ST. CLOUD — A 19-year-old California man was arrested Tuesday, suspected of threatening to stab a man and stealing another man’s vehicle at gunpoint, according to criminal complaints filed in Stearns County District Court.
Just Lopez, 19, of Lancaster, Calif. faces one count of felony aggravated robbery in the first degree, one count of felony attempted aggravated robbery in the second degree, and one count of felony terroristic threats.
The charges come after a string of incidents involving Lopez.
On Nov. 30, a St. Cloud police officer met with an adult male who said he was sitting in his Toyota Corolla about 10 p.m. when a man police later suspected was Lopez opened the door and began to yell at him, “I’m going to stab you! Get out of your car! Give me the keys!”
The victim said when he exited the vehicle and stood up, the suspect ran off. Police eventually identified Lopez as the suspect based on a witness at the scene and a photo lineup presented to the victim.
In a second incident about 7:21 p.m. Monday, St. Cloud police responded to a call from an adult male who told officers he had his vehicle stolen at gunpoint by an unknown male in the 1000 block of Ninth Avenue South in St. Cloud.
The victim had been warming up his Mazda when he saw a man walking in the alleyway. When the victim got into his vehicle, the man approached him, pointed a gun at his head and told the victim he was taking the vehicle.
The victim exited the vehicle, at which point the man got into the driver’s seat and drove away.
In a third incident about 10:33 p.m. Tuesday, officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of Seventh Avenue South after an adult female reported she had been approached by a man who had asked for her phone and if she wanted to get into his vehicle.
When officers arrived, they found Lopez and two others in the vehicle in a nearby parking lot. Officers recognized Lopez as a suspect in a previous aggravated robbery case.
During a search, officers found keys for a Mazda vehicle, which was located unoccupied approximately 40 feet away from where Lopez was arrested. Officers confirmed the vehicle was the Mazda reported stolen Monday.
In a Mirandized statement, Lopez admitted to officers he had received a fake gun from a man who told him he could “use it to find a vehicle to sleep in that evening,” according to the complaint.
Lopez said after receiving the gun, he saw the Mazda in the alleyway, pointed the gun at the driver and took the vehicle.He stated he slept in the stolen Mazda that evening, and told officers the fake gun was in the Mazda.
After gaining the owner’s consent, officers searched the Mazda and located a black BB handgun in the driver’s side door.
Lopez was arrested and is held in Stearns County Jail.
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