Two Fresno gang members arrested in an armed robbery of a Merced store, police say

Andrew Kuhn/

Two Fresno men were arrested Friday in connection with the August armed robbery of a convenience store in Merced, according to police.

Merced detectives served two search warrants in Fresno with the assistance of the Fresno Police Department, the Fresno Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC) and investigators from the California Lottery on Friday, according to a social media post by the Merced Police Department.

Detectives were investigating a robbery that occurred Aug. 28, 2022, at the Stop 2 Save Liquor Store in Merced. Three masked men entered and stole cash, lottery tickets and liquor bottles.

Two of the three men were armed with handguns and were identified by detectives as Fresno residents Robert Joe Hernandez, 27, and Emilio Tito Alvarado, 26. Both are documented Bulldog gang members, police said.

While officers were serving the search warrant at Hernandez’s residence, he took off running and tried to discard two firearms, according to police. Hernandez stopped and was arrested after realizing his residence was surrounded by officers.

Alvarado was arrested after he and a family member arrived in a vehicle during the service of the search warrant at his residence.

Hernandez and Alvarado were taken to Merced and booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime and gang enhancements. Hernandez, recently discharged from parole, also was charged with being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

Detectives are still trying to identify the third suspect in the robbery.

Merced police are asking anyone with any information to contact Det. Christian Lupian at 209-385-7844 or