SAN JOSE -- A quick-thinking San Jose police officer who played a hunch and staked out a parking lot for 90 minutes is being credited for the arrest of a woman wanted in connection with an overnight robbery of a convenience store.
Police also believe the woman -- 22-year-old Sharon Gonzalez -- may be responsible for armed robberies of two other 7-Eleven stores last month.
Police arrested Gonzalez, another woman and one man Tuesday following a high-speed chase that ended when the suspect's car went off the roadway and rolled up a tree on Yerba Buena Road in South San Jose. Officers located cash, lottery tickets and a loaded handgun inside the stolen BMW, according to Lt. Mike Sullivan.
San Jose police say a woman walked into a 7-Eleven located on Foxworthy Avenue at about 2 a.m., pointed a revolver at the clerk and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and lottery tickets, Sullivan said.
Officers responded to the convenience store, watched surveillance video and realized the woman resembled a person who robbed two 7-Eleven stores on the same night about one month ago. As police began warning other 7-Eleven stores of a possible serial robber, Officer Anthony Torres drove to East San Jose and staked out an apartment complex where he believed a stolen truck used in the previous robbery had been abandoned.
In the previous 7-Eleven robberies on April 8, police say a black Ford F-150 was used in the robberies. On that night, Torres located a stolen Ford F-150 at an apartment complex at South King Road and Rigoletto Drive, Sullivan said.
Based on a hunch, Torres went to the same apartment complex early this morning and waited to see if anything developed.
About 90 minutes later, a blue late-model BMW rolled into the parking lot. Torres shined his bright lights on the BMW, which immediately took off south on King Road, Sullivan said.
Torres, who has been with San Jose police for 4¿1/2 years, pursued the BMW and called for backup. The BMW continued south on King Road, which turned into Silver Creek Road and eventually Yerba Buena Road. The chase reached speed of about 75 ¿mph and ended when the BMW tried to make a hard right turn and drove into a tree, Sullivan said.
The driver and two passenger tried to flee on foot, but officers were right behind them.
Officers arrested the female driver, Gonzalez, on suspicion of armed robbery, driving a stolen vehicle, fleeing from police and resisting arrest, Sullivan said. The passengers in the BMW were arrested on suspicion of being in a stolen vehicle and resisting arrest. .
Sullivan said the gun located inside the BMW is a revolver with a long barrel and similar to the weapon used in previous 7-Eleven robberies.
"He took the time and decided to be patient and wait for an hour and a half until anything moved in that complex," Sullivan said of Torres. "It was just a great hunch. Just great instinct. Sure enough, his patience pays off."
Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMgomez