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Facebook contact ends with robbery

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POSTED March 27, 2014 1:18 a.m.

A Facebook contact was used to set up an armed robbery in Ripon with the victim/buyer meeting a seller of his merchandise face-to-face and at gunpoint near a neighborhood school.

Ripon Police First Sergeant Steve Merchant said the victim agreed to meet the bogus online sellers near the local elementary school shortly before 3 p.m. on Saturday. Two suspects reportedly picked up the victim and drove him to a city park where one suspect reportedly brandished a handgun.  Sgt. Merchant said the victim was then taken against his will to a secluded orchard west of Ripon.

The duo allegedly took cash and personal items from the victim and warned him not to contact police.  

Merchant noted that detectives utilized an extensive array of electronic tools at their disposal to locate the suspects.  On Tuesday Ripon detectives served an arrest warrant at a residence in the 1600 block of Bradford Street in Stockton where they located stolen property including identifiable items belonging to the victim.

Fernando Villavaso Hernandez, Jr, 21, of Stockton was taken into custody and after questioning he was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on charges including robbery, kidnapping, witness intimidation and conspiracy.

Sgt. Merchant said that due to the fact the robbery is an ongoing investigation, no further information can be released at this time.  He thanked the Stockton Police Department for its assistance in the case.

Hernandez is being held in the San Joaquin County Jail in lieu of $573,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court today at 1:30 p.m.

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