San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies used a combination of modern technology and good old-fashioned detective work to identify and arrest a man accused of the armed robbery of a Tres Piños store.
About 2pm April 19, a man entered the Tres Piños Country Store, 6851 Airline Highway in rural San Benito County, and confronted the lone female clerk, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
The man simulated a handgun while he demanded money from the cash register.
The clerk, who told authorities she saw a handgun in the man’s possession, complied with his demands, according to the sheriff’s office. The man fled the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. The clerk was unharmed.
Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Leist responded and began compiling a report of the robbery. After he obtained video surveillance footage from a nearby store, as well as statements from people in the area, Leist developed a suspect in the armed robbery case, according to the sheriff’s office report.
Leist recalled a similar suspect he and Deputy Russell Brown had stopped a couple weeks earlier.
During that earlier stop, Leist recorded his contact with the suspect with his newly issued body-worn camera, according to the sheriff’s office. He recovered this video while investigating the April 19 armed robbery, and used a still image from the footage to confirm it was the same man who robbed the Tres Piños store.
Leist and three other deputies on shift developed leads as to where the suspect, later identified as Michael Huerta, might be found, police said. With the use of ongoing surveillance and confidential informants, the deputies searched numerous areas in Hollister and surrounding neighborhoods as they received tips.
About 4pm on April 10, deputies located Huerta in the area of 111 San Felipe Road. He was arrested without incident, and booked at San Benito County Jail on suspicion of robbery.
Authorities reported that Huerta confessed to the April 19 armed robbery while giving a statement to deputies following his arrest.
Anyone with information about this case can contact the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office at (831) 636-4084, or send a text to 888777 with the words “TIP SBCSO” followed by your message.