San Benito Police Starts New Unit after String of Robberies

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SAN BENITO – The San Benito Police Department is asking for help in catching a man who robbed a packed restaurant over the weekend.

The police chief Michael Galvan said the suspect walked into the Taco Jardin restaurant after 9:30 Sunday morning. He asked to buy a soda.

“He refused to pay for the drink because now the cash register is open, as soon as the door opens he reaches, grabs the money, assaults the cashier and then flees on foot with the cash,” he said.

The owner of the restaurant didn’t want to speak on camera. She did say several of her customers chased after the man. He was able to get away in what police describe as an older model black Ford Expedition.

Galvan said the call for help came in at 9:36 a.m. A patrol officer was on the scene by 9:40. The drive from the police station to the restaurant is only a few minutes.

The chief said the alleged robber committed the crime and got away all in under a minute.

“By the time they gathered their own, I guess emotions, and then make the call for service. And by the time they get dispatched, those are critical minutes, seconds, that count. All these things happened in a matter of… it happened very quickly,” Galvan said.

In the past six months, San Benito businesses, including several restaurants and a family-owned furniture store, have been targeted by thieves.

Most of the crimes that happened took place overnight.

In response, Galvan is rolling out a graveyard interdiction unit.

“We need to be more proactive in fighting crime, instead of reacting to it. These two particular cars will also have night vision cameras, so literally they can black out for hours and watch and pan the areas to see if anyone is walking around or hiding. That’s going to be very helpful,” he said.

At any given point the police department has five to eight patrol officers on the street.

The owner of Taco Jardin said she hopes police catch the thief. She said her sense of security was taken.

Anyone with information about the crime should contact San Benito police at (956) 361-3880. Galvan added anyone caught harboring or hiding a criminal could also face charges.


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