Jose Zarate Alvarez received good news and bad news recently.
How do you want it, Orange County?
Glad you're the glass half full type. The good news is the 36-year-old had charges dismissed alleging he conspired to rip off $32,000 from a Costa Mesa convenience store.
The bad news is he is facing deportation ... which, actually, some of our most loyal trolls would flop to be a bad news-good news scenario.
Come now, you remember this case: Nora Mercado Mercado was working as the manager of the 7-Eleven at 204 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, on Aug. 4 when, just before 10 a.m., she called police to report a masked gunman had just car-jacked her 2003 Chevrolet Malibu with a $32,000 cash deposit she was taking to the bank inside.
The Chevy was found abandoned in a nearby residential street, but when Costa Mesa Police officers and detectives went back to interview Mercado, they discovered discrepancies in her story, cops related at the time. They add that when, pressed further, Mercado not only admitted the car-jacking was concocted but gave up Alvarez.
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Police say about $12,000 of the store's money was recovered, and Mercado and Alvarez were each charged with felony conspiracy and grand theft.
Defense attorney Russell Halpern later told City News Service that the judge dismissed charges against Alvarez for lack of evidence, "[b]ut Costa Mesa police, being the nice people that they are, turned Mr. Zarate [Alvarez] over to immigration. It was out of meanness on their part, so he'll be shipped back to Mexico." Halpern also criticized prosecutors for keeping "this guy in jail for two months when they didn't have enough evidence," calling it a "miscarriage of justice and a waste of taxpayers' money."
Mercado, who still faces two counts of conspiracy, is due back in court on Nov. 20.