Five men arrested, one man dead after armed robbery

Wheaton Robbery_94602949

Five men were arrested for an armed robbery in Wheaton on Saturday night.

23-year-old Miguel Ayala-Rivera, 21-year-old Marcio Roney Avila-Castro, 21-year-old Yeruin Romero-Rivera, 34-year-old Juan R. Ramirez-Delgado, and 17-year-old (charged as an adult) Edwin Geovanny Zelaya-Ramirez are charged with committing an armed robbery of the Cash Depot store located at 11246 Georgia Avenue in Wheaton on Friday.

Ayala-Rivera was also charged in relation to the September 22nd armed robbery of an Exxon gas station at 12245 Veirs Mill Road.

The Major Crimes Division has been investigating a series of commercial armed robberies that appear to be related.

In each robbery, multiple suspects were armed with handguns and often with their faces covered.

At the Cash Depot, the multiple suspects concealed their faces, brandished firearms, and entered the store at 12:35 p.m.

They threatened an employee and demanded money.

The employee complied with the demands and the suspects fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

Officers located the suspects at about 12:50 p.m. and followed their Chevy van in an unmarked MCP police car into the Takoma area.

Officers continued to follow the suspects to the Inner Loop of I-495 into Prince George’s County.

As the suspects approached Route 1, they collided with at least one car.

After the collision, the driver of the van, identified as 37 year old Juan Carlos Gomez, fled from the vehicle onto I-495.

Gomez was hit by an unmarked MCP police involved in the pursuit.

That collision is being investigated by the Maryland State Police.

Gomez succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

MCP officers arrested two of the suspects who were still in the van.

Multiple firearms were recovered from inside the van.

Two additional suspects, who fled the scene, were arrested by MCP officers following a brief foot pursuit.

Ayala-Rivera, Avila-Castro, Romero-Rivera, Ramirez-Delgado, and Zelaya-Ramirez were transported to the Central Processing Unit (CPU) where they were charged with armed robbery, first-degree assault, and the use of a firearm during the commission of a violent felony.

Ayala-Rivera was charged with an additional count of armed robbery for the September 22 Exxon gas station armed robbery.

Bond information for the suspects is not yet available.

The officer involved in the collision, a 24-year veteran of the Department, is identified as Sergeant William Thomas.  Following protocol, he is on paid Administrative Leave during this investigation.

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