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Suspects detained in armed robbery at Santa Rosa jewelry store

  • Santa Rosa police investigate Bennett Valley Jewelers after several shots were fired during a robbery on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

An armed robbery at an east Santa Rosa jewelry store Tuesday erupted in gunfire when a store employee, looking into the barrel of a robber's shotgun, opened fire, Santa Rosa police officials said.

No one was struck by gunfire during the 1 p.m. encounter at Bennett Valley Jewelers on Yulupa Avenue, Santa Rosa Police Lt. Ray Navarro said.

The robbers ran out of the store, carrying an unspecified amount of jewelry, jumped a fence and ran to an apartment complex behind the commercial strip where a getaway driver was waiting for them in a red car, Navarro said.

Armed Robbery At BV Jewelers

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Police broadcast an alert and within 20 minutes Petaluma police pulled over a Nissan sedan on Highway 101 at East Washington Street. Santa Rosa police said the men inside the vehicle matched the description of those involved in the robbery.

Police arrested Traveon Banks-Austin, 23, of San Pablo and Alexander Tyvon Brandon, 23, and Ervin Dixon Jr., 25, both of Hayward.

Banks-Austin and Brandon were booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, police said. Dixon, who police suspect was the driver of the alleged getaway car, was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery.

Bail for Brandon and Dixon was set at $50,000, jail officials said. Bail information for Banks-Austin, who was briefly taken to a hospital and released to the jail, was unavailable.

A firearm similar to the one used by the suspects in the robbery and other items believed to have been taken from the business were found inside the car, Sgt. Dave Linscomb said.

Staff members and several patrons were inside when two men burst into the store wearing hooded jackets and some sort of covering on their faces, Navarro said.

One man carried a shotgun and the other wielded a hammer.


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