Merced foot chase ends in arrest of ‘known gang member’

A brief foot chase Thursday ended with a man described by police as a “known gang member” behind bars, possibly facing attempted robbery and weapons charges, the Merced Police Department reported.

Robert Yanez, 18, was booked at Merced County jail on $100,000 bail, according to booking records.

Police spotted Yanez walking about 8:30 p.m. in the area of West Eighth and M streets in Merced.

Yanez, after noticing the officers, took off running, holding the waistband of his pants, leading police to believe he was carrying a weapon, Sgt. Curt Gorman said in a news release.

A police officer caught Yanez in the 500 block of West 11th Street. Yanez told the officer he was carrying a loaded firearm, police said.

As officers took Yanez into custody, a resident, whose name was not released, approached and said Yanez tried to rob him at gunpoint Wednesday, police said.

The man said he fell off his bicycle when Yanez pointed the gun at him. Yanez then ran away without taking the bicycle, Gorman said in the statement.

Anyone with information is asked to call Merced police Detective Chris Russell at (209) 385-4707.

Thursday’s incident was at least the second time this week that a suspected gang member was arrested in Merced County on suspicion of illegally carrying firearms.

Jose Manuel Alvarez, 27, was arrested just before midnight Sunday by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Delray Shelton reported.

A routine vehicle stop on Winton Way ended with Alvarez, who was also described as a known gang member, behind bars facing possible felony charges. Deputies stopped and later searched Alvarez’s black 1999 Chevrolet pickup and found a loaded .40-caliber handgun under the driver’s seat, Shelton said.

Alvarez was booked at Merced County jail.