WAXAHACHIE — Two robbers have been sentenced to 10 or more years in prison and a third is awaiting trial after their arrests related to a mini-string of gas station holdups. Cedar Hill resident Alejandro Lopez, 20, and Waxahachie resident Alexis Hernandez, 18, recently accepted plea bargain agreements in connection with a string of convenience store robberies.
Lopez pleaded guilty on Jan. 27 to three charges of aggravated robbery, a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a prohibited weapon and misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge. In return for the guilty plea, he received 15 years in prison.
Hernandez pleaded on Feb. 9 to three charges of aggravated robbery and a charge of a prohibited weapon. In return for his guilty plea, Hernandez received 10 years in prison.
“Aggravated robbery is something not to be taken lightly because they are using guns and stuff and putting store clerks in fear for their lives over a few hundred bucks,” Ellis County District Attorney’s Office Chief Felony Prosecutor Lindy Beaty said. “Lots of bad things could happen. The customer might have guns on them too, and there could be a shoot out. It is dangerous for everybody. Even though they are young, we just felt like with seriousness of the offenses that they needed to go to prison.”
THE FIRST TWO
According to a Daily Light article published Dec. 2, 2015, Waxahachie residents Alexis Hernandez, 17, and Alejandro Lopez, 19, were arrested on a traffic stop Nov. 28, 2015, related to two aggravated robberies that took place early in the morning.
At 2:29 a.m. that Saturday, Waxahachie police officers were dispatched to the Exxon gas station located at 3300 Interstate 35E for an aggravated robbery call.
"The suspect entered and demanded money," Lt. Todd Woodruff previously said. "He was described as a white male, wearing a red hat, black glasses and was armed with a sawed-off shotgun."
Woodruff said that, when the register was opened, the suspect reached in to grab the money. He then left with an undetermined amount of money and no injuries were reported.
The second robbery happened occurred at approximately 4:48 a.m. at the Shell gas station located at 1211 N. U.S. Highway 77. Woodruff said the clerk described the suspect as a white male wearing a white bandana mask and armed with a sawed-off shotgun. The suspect entered the store and demanded money. He then left the store with approximately $500-$600 in cash and fled in an unknown direction.
"Officer Abe Partington arrived in the area shortly after the call. He observed a white Nissan Altima leaving the Valero station on the other side of the bypass. This is subsequent to the second robbery call," Woodruff said previously. "Partington reported that he saw a white Nissan in the area of the first robbery after that call came out. So he sees a white Nissan again at the second robbery near the Shell.
"The driver had his headlights off while driving, and Partington was able to stop the vehicle because that violated a traffic law. He stopped the two teenagers in the 2000 block of N. U.S. Highway 77 at 4:50 a.m."
Woodruff said Alejandro had a white hoodie wrapped around his neck, which he thought was similar to the description of the robbery suspect.
"He reported that he saw cash falling out of the pocket of the hoodie he was wearing. Officers smelled marijuana coming from the car. They detained them and found the sawed-off shotgun and the handgun," Woodruff said. "They found money in various locations in the car.”
Woodruff said the two suspects, during the traffic stop, made some incriminating statements that resulted in the arrests for the robberies. Also, the gun matched the description of the weapon in those two robberies, which had a 14 and three-quarter-inch barrel.
AND ANOTHER ONE
Lopez, Hernandez and an alleged third suspect, Waxahachie resident Dakota Oviedo, were involved in a second robbery that took place on March 15, 2016. Waxahachie Police officers were dispatched at 3:12 a.m. to the Exxon Gas station located in the 3300 block of Interstate 35E.
According to the probable cause affidavit, officers were dispatched to an aggravated robbery call and, while en route, were advised a man had entered the store wearing a sweatshirt with lettering across the front, a red ball cap and had used a handgun during the offense.
"The suspect demanded the store money, and once gained, the suspect exited the store and fled in a white passenger vehicle through a muddy field directly behind the store into a nearby mobile home lot," Officer Brian Fuller stated in the affidavit.
Fuller said that during the investigation, officers determined that numerous packs of Newport cigarettes had been stolen and that there was more than one suspect in the vehicle during the offense. Officers discovered the vehicle had mud on the bottom of it since it had high centered trying to go through the field, even getting stuck at one point.
"While investigating, the Italy Police Department called and advised that a white vehicle occupied by two males and one female had tried to rob a convenience store in their town around 2 a.m. matching the description of our suspects," Fuller stated. "A white 2001 Nissan passenger car was located at Walmart just after 4 a.m., and two males and one female were found to be inside the vehicle upon contact."
Fuller added that the vehicle had fresh mud in the wheel wells and on the undercarriage of the frame and traces of mud on the sides of the car. After further investigation, officers allegedly found Lopez, Hernandez, and Oviedo in possession of cash and Lopez allegedly also had unopened packs of Newport cigarettes on him. There were also multiple packs of unopened Newport cigarettes in the vehicle.
Fuller stated the packs of Newports found by police matched the tax and state numbers that connected them with the ones stolen from the Exxon station.
According to the affidavit, Hernandez gave verbal consent to the search of the vehicle. No weapon was found inside the vehicle. Hernandez advised the weapon was actually a pellet gun and was placed in the trunk of the car. As police searched the car further, they found a backpack in the trunk underneath the floor mat by the spare tire. Inside the backpack was a dark hoodie sweatshirt, which matched the one worn by the suspect from the robbery, and a black airsoft pistol. It is believed that was the weapon used during this offense, Fuller stated.
Fuller said during the investigation and transport to the Wayne McCollum Detention Center, Lopez was allegedly very combative and made threats toward officers' lives and their families. Lopez allegedly kicked the doors and glass of the patrol vehicle.
Beaty said the case against Oviedo is still pending at this time and her pre-trial is set for 1:30 p.m. April 5 in the 40th Judicial District Court.
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