MADERA – Half-a-dozen Madera teenagers have been arrested, accused of participating in a 3-day crime spree throughout in the city and county of Madera.
Nicholas Javier Castrejon, 19, Angel Barrios, 19, along with four juveniles – two 17-year-olds, a 15-year-old, and a sixth suspect, just 14 years old – are all behind bars.Authorities believe this group has ties to a local criminal street gang, and is connected to a rash of strong arm robberies, at least one shooting, and several carjackings.
The string of criminal activity began in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 21, when Madera Police responded to an armed robbery on Almond in the city of Madera.
A short time later, sheriff’s deputies were called out to a carjacking on Devon Way. The victim in that case was sitting in his 2002 Dodge Durango, parked outside his home, when he heard a tapping on his driver’s side door. A gunman ordered him out of the vehicle and to hit the ground face down, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The next day, Jan. 22, sheriff’s deputies responded to an armed robbery attempt at a store located on Road 24. A suspect fired shots into the store and the store clerk fired back. One of the bullets fired from the suspect’s weapon narrowly missed the victim’s head.
Twenty minutes later, the Sheriff’s Office was called to a carjacking located on Brook Drive, where a woman was yanked from her vehicle, and just like in the carjacking the previous morning, she too was ordered to the ground.
Then on Jan. 23, Madera police responded to two attempted armed robberies, just 20 minutes apart, in the city of Madera. One took place on Quadi Lane, the other on La Creda.
Finally, on Jan. 24, Madera police were dispatched to a carjacking at Town & Country Park in the city of Madera. Officers later located the stolen vehicle parked outside a home on Avenue 17.
Sheriff’s detectives were called out to the Ave. 17 location where they recovered a Buick 4-door Sedan that police say was involved in the Jan. 21 carjacking. A 17-year old juvenile, was taken into custody that night and booked in Madera County Juvenile Hall.
Four days later, on Jan. 28, Nicholas Castrejon showed up at the Madera County Sheriff’s Office to retrieve that 4-door Buick Sedan, which was stored inside the Sheriff’s secured parking lot. He was immediately taken into custody and booked into the Madera County Jail.
Castrejon, who also goes by the name Luis Moreno and the nickname, “MANIAC,” was on probation at the time of his arrest. He remains jailed on a no-bail hold.
Jan. 30, deputies and police rounded up two juveniles, and 19-year old Angel Barrios, who was on probation at the time of his arrest. He too remains behind bars without bail.
Authorities successfully wrapped up their investigation the next day, Jan. 31, when sheriff’s deputies took the last suspect, a 14-year old, into custody.
The two adults are being held inside Madera County Department of Corrections. The four juveniles are being housed in Madera County Juvenile Hall.
All six are facing a number of felony charges including carjacking, strong arm robbery, criminal street gang activity, and attempted murder.
Due to the specific nature of these cases, authorities were precluded from releasing information until now.
Sheriff John Anderson credits the cooperative efforts between sheriff’s deputies and Madera police officers with the quick arrests of the suspects.
Detectives are still investigating.