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Mesa cops arrest 6 in ‘Zip Tie’ robberies

The Arizona Republic

MESA – Mesa Police arrested six men Sunday who they say are linked to the “Zip Tie” robberies throughout metropolitan Phoenix.

Chief George Gascòn said the suspects, three from Mesa and three from Gilbert, are all being charged with felonies in connection with seven robberies.

The robberies were similar, according to police. The men maintained certain roles during each incident and would force customers to the back of the store and tie them up.

In one case, one of the men pointed a gun at an 11-year-old girl and tied her up. In another, one of the suspects beat a store owner and fired four shots.

Police estimated $365,000 was stolen during the robberies. But the suspects always stole money from the stores and never the customers, police said.

Four of the armed robberies occurred in Mesa between May and Oct. 13.

Assistant Police Chief John Meza described the men as an “organized crime group” who used violence and tied up victims to rob stores.

The men who were arrested face various armed robbery, kidnapping and weapons charges. They are Juan Mendez, 32; Kalib Jivran Mondragon, 21; Humberto Ochoa-Alvarado, 30; Juan Felipe Torres, 25; Javier Rodriguez Robledo, 26; and Miguel Mendez, 35.

Four of the six are illegal immigrants, Meza said.

To bring an end to the investigation, police constructed a special armed robbery task force, made up of one sergeant and eight detectives. Investigators worked 37 straight hours at one point, police said.

Police analyzed patterns using computerized crime data and said the Mesa robberies all occurred in central Mesa and during daylight to maximize the chances of higher amounts of money. The men conducted their own surveillance and made minor purchases at the stores before robbing them.

The other two “Zip Tie” robberies occurred in Phoenix and Buckeye. Those investigations are ongoing.

The Arizona Republic

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