Herlin Mendez Held in Robbery by Tree Limb

Desperate times apparently call for desperate robbery weapons.

A guy walked into a gas station/mini-market in the 6100 block of Trabuco Road in Irvine about 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 and asked about buying some tires. He was followed by a second man who was carrying a tree trunk, about three feet long.

George of the Urban Jungle did not want tires. He wanted the contents of the cash register which, once opened, was seized upon by the first dude, who was unsuccessful in getting any loot.

So the lumber swinger demanded the register be reopened, and this time the first guy grabbed several hundred dollars while his buddy carted off several packs
of cigarettes from a display. They were last seen fleeing in the area in a blue 1995 Ford

Courtesy of Irvine Police Department
Herlin Mendez

Irvine patrol officers arrived within minutes, but not soon enough to catch the bad guys. But a break came after KCBS/KCAL news on Monday night aired surveillance video from the mini-market. That led to an anonymous tip called into Irvine detectives, which led to Tuesday's arrest of Herlin Mendez, 28, of Buena Park.

Police also seized the 1995 Ford mini-van that they believe was used during the robbery. You'll never guess what was inside. Yup, a
tree limb, about three feet in length.

No where to be found, however, was the second robber. He was described as a Hispanic
male in his early 20s, 6 feet tall, weighing 160 pounds, with black
hair. He was last seen wearing black pants and a black shirt.

Here is a photo of him from the store video:

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Erika Hutchcraft at 949.724.7124.

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