Suspects Tied to Christmas Eve Armed Robbery in GJ Also Linked to Robberies Across Colorado and California #GVCopBeat

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Two people in custody in California  are suspected of being linked to a Christmas Eve armed robbery at the Outback Steakhouse in Grand Junction, as well as several armed robberies across Colorado and California.

Grand Junction Police Department detectives began working this case on December 24, 2014, after employees at the Outback Steakhouse said a man came into the restaurant, sat in an empty booth, and asked to speak with the manager.  The manager said the man pointed to his waistband and said he was armed with a gun.  He demanded that the manager lead him to the office and give him money, which the manager did.

Another restaurant employee told investigators that while the man was seated alone, a woman came into the restaurant saying she was looking for her husband. She looked around in a suspicious manner, but never met up with the suspect, who was the only person sitting alone in the restaurant. She left at about the same time the man was being led back to the office by the manager.

Security footage shows the passenger of a vehicle walk toward the restaurant and a short time later the driver doing the same. The driver then walks back to the vehicle, and drives slowly around the restaurant where the robbery suspect exits the back door of the restaurant, gets into the car, and the two leave the area.

A law enforcement bulletin was broadcast, and the GJPD detective working the case learned about a robbery that happened at a restaurant in Silverthorne on December 28, 2014 that had similar characteristics and suspect descriptions.  Detectives then learned a similar robbery happened in Durango on December 23, 2014.  The video footage from that case showed a similar looking suspect vehicle.  Additionally, the suspects in the Durango case matched the suspect descriptions in the Silverthorne and Grand Junction cases.

In mid-January our detective received information from the Roseville Police Department in California about a woman, 28-year-old Chanzie Kristina Cox, who was arrested after she fled officers attempting a traffic stop and crashed her car. Cox’s passenger at the time was able to run and was not caught. The vehicle she crashed was linked to at least two armed robberies in California, and was reported stolen out of Frisco.  Through further investigation, detectives from the Colorado and California agencies identified the male suspect as 33-year-old Michael Angelo Ortiz. They also used GPS data from a device in the car to show the vehicle was near the Durango restaurant on December 23 at about the time of the robbery there, in Grand Junction near the Outback Steakhouse during the time of the robbery on December 24, and in Silverthorne on December 28 during the time the restaurant was robbed there.

GJPD detectives obtained arrest warrants related to the Outback Steakhouse robbery for both Cox, who was already in custody in California, and for Ortiz.  Authorities in California later arrested Ortiz.

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GJPD Investigating Two Unrelated Robberies That Happened This Week #GVCopBeat

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The Grand Junction Police Department is investigating two separate robberies that we believe are unrelated.  Both happened overnight from October 13-14.

The first robbery happened at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of North Ave., one block east of CMU.

Three people, one of whom was armed with a gun, approached two CMU students. The armed suspect demanded money, the students complied with the demands, and the suspects ran from the scene. No one was hurt.

The suspects are described as:

  • Suspect 1 (armed suspect)-  Hispanic male, 5’8” tall, approximately 170 pounds, wearing dark clothing with a flat rimmed baseball style hat
  • Suspect 2- male, wearing dark clothing and blue jeans
  • Suspect 3- female, wearing a white hooded sweatshirt and dark sweat pants
  • The suspects were last seen in a mid to late 1990’s, white SUV.

We believe the second robbery happened around midnight the same night in the area of S. Redlands Rd. near Mount Sopris Dr.  The victim said he was walking in the area when he passed two men. The victim heard the men yelling at him, and when he turned around one of them pointed a gun at him while the other punched him.  They then took his backpack and some personal items.

The suspects in this robbery are described as:

  • Suspect 1- white male, approximately 5’9″ tall, with facial hair, wearing a dirty black baseball cap and backpack
  • Suspect 2- black male, approximately 6’1″ tall, with facial hair, wearing a black beanie
  • Both men appeared dirty and “scraggly”

If you have any information about either of these robberies, or saw any suspicious people or activity in the areas described, please call the GJPD at 970-242-6707 or report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers online or by calling 970-241-7867.