Four Men Arrested for Home Invasion in Atwater, One Suspect Still at Large
ATWATER – Four men are in jail after an armed home invasion and hostage situation early Friday morning. One suspect involved in the crime remains on the loose.
Modesto residents Ivan Hernandez, 24, Victory Quintero, 18, Arturo Lopez, 18, and Emilio Chaparro, 21, were taken into custody at the scene of the crime.
The incident happened in the 2000 block of Oak Grove Lane in Atwater. Police received a call from a 21-year-old woman around 2:24 a.m. saying that several men had forced their way into her home and were demanding money from her parents. The young woman was able to lock herself inside a room and call 9-1-1.
Officers arrived within minutes and were able to immediately arrest two men who were in the process of transporting stolen items out of the house. Police determined that there were two more suspects inside the home holding four members of the home – two daughters and their parents – hostage. The Merced County SWAT team was called in for help.
After 45 minutes of negotiation with the suspects, one of the hostages, the father, came outside with the two intruders beside him. Police said the hostage had been instructed to tell the police that they were friends, but instead the hostage told the officers that the suspects were holding the rest of his family hostage inside the house. Police were able to arrest the two men with little incident.
The hostages told police that five men had been involved in the home invasion, so the SWAT team searched the house and the surrounding area, but were unable to find the fifth suspect. Deputies did find a gun and a trail of stolen property apparently left behind as the fifth suspect fled the scene.
A search of the home revealed more than two pounds of processed marijuana, making the case similar to another armed robbery that happened in Merced County just the day before. Two men forced their way inside a home in the 2800 block of South Highway 59 early Thursday morning, held a woman in the home at gunpoint, and stole about two dozen marijuana plants. Authorities said it is unclear at this point if the two cases are related.
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