As part of a misdemeanor case of filing a false vehicle registration, Fernando Manuel Ruiz of Los Angeles agreed to submit a sample of his DNA to cops.
The 38-year-old may not have known at the time that the submission would lead to his arrest for a cold case armed robbery of a Buena Park movie theater, where two employees were bound and a safe was emptied by an armed man impersonating a city police officer.
Way back in 2008.
Around 12:30 p.m. on August 18 of that year, a man walked into the Krikorian Buena Park Metroplex 18 movie theater, asked to see the manager and showed the manager a badge and business card of a Buena Park Police Department investigator.
He said he was there to investigate a previous robbery and asked the manager to show him the serial numbers on the money
inside theater's safe. After viewing the serial numbers on the cash inside the manager's office, the “investigator” stepped outside to make several cell phone calls.
Minutes later, he walked back in, pulled out a gun and pointed it at the manager, who was ordered to the ground while the supposed cop tied the manager's wrists with a
telephone cord. A female theater employee then walked and was bound with a computer mouse cord.
After collecting the theater's surveillance footage and destroying it, the gunman took about $15,000 in cash from the safe and fled.
The manager called 9-1-1, and real Buena Park police investigators collected DNA at the scene linked to the robber. The results were fed into the Orange County District Attorney's DNA database.
Ruiz submitted his DNA for the misdemeanor vehicle case in August 2010. He was linked to the movie theater heist a month later and, following more investigation, was arrested by Buena Park officers Thursday morning on suspicion of armed robbery and impersonating a police officer.
The OCDA has now charged Ruiz with two felony counts each of second degree robbery and false imprisonment by violence or deceit with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a firearm, being armed with a firearm, and impersonating a peace officer.
If convicted, he could get up to 20 years and four months in state prison. Ruiz, who is being held on $100,000 bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.