If what the Costa Mesa Police Department alleges is true, then not all armed robberies of convenience stores (a.k.a. Stop-N-Robs) are real.
Say it ain't so, Joe!
Nora Mercado Mercado was working as the manager of a 7-Eleven at 204 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, just before 10 a.m. Aug. 4 when she called police to report she had been car-jacked and robbed of the convenience store's cash, according to a Costa Mesa police statement.
The 36-year-old Santa Ana resident further explained she was about to take the $32,000 to deposit at the bank when a masked gunman stole her 2003 Chevrolet Malibu with the loot inside, police say.
The Chevy was found abandoned in a nearby residential street, but when officers and detectives went back to interview Mercado, they discovered discrepancies in her story, according to police. Pressed further, Mercado is said to have not only admitted the car-jacking was concocted, but she gave up Jose Zarate-Alvarez, 37, of Santa Ana.
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Detectives recovered about $12,000 of the store's money, police say.
Mercado and Zarate-Alvarez were held in lieu of $20,000 bail. She bailed out and has a court date later. Zarate-Alvarez pleaded not guilty in Westminster Monday and is due back for an Aug. 19 pretrial hearing. Each is charged with felony conspiracy and grand theft.
Anyone with information relative to the case is asked to contact Detective Mario Garcia at 714.754.5363 or Sgt. Ed Everett at 714.754.5395.