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One Arrested, One is Sought in Connection with Armed Robbery

Redlands Police are asking the public's help in finding a man who they said fled from officers following a robbery at a gas station convenience store.

Michael James Soto is being sought by Redlands Police in connection with a robbery at a convenience store. Photo courtesy of Redlands Police.
Michael James Soto is being sought by Redlands Police in connection with a robbery at a convenience store. Photo courtesy of Redlands Police.

Redlands Police have arrested one man and are searching for a second in connection with an armed robbery of a gas station convenience store on Jan. 20.

Frank Louis Colunga Jr., 23, of Colton, was taken into custody following the robbery. He is being held at Central Detention Center in San Bernardino on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy charges.

Police identified the second robbery suspect as 39-year-old Michael James Soto of Colton.

Redlands investigators said about 4:15 a.m. that Monday Redlands officers were called on a report of an armed robbery at the Unocal Station, 1075 Parkford Drive. Two men entered the store, displayed handguns and robbed the clerk of cash, alcohol and cigarettes, officials said.

During a search of the area, officers spotted a green 2006 Honda Pilot that matched a description of a vehicle at the scene. It was on Alabama Street near Interstate 10. When officers tried to pull the vehicle over, the driver took off leading police on a chase that ended in a crash in Grand Terrace, officials said.

The driver reportedly ran into a residential area. Colunga Jr., of Colton, was taken into custody but a yard-to-yard search for the second suspect turned up nothing, officials said.

Officers said they found guns and stolen property in the Honda.

Redlands detectives suspect Soto and Colunga are responsible for similar robberies in San Bernardino, Bloomington, Rialto and Riverside. A warrant has been issued for Soto’s arrest. He is described as a Hispanic male, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 225 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Detectives ask anyone with information on the robbery or Soto’s whereabouts call Detective Dominick Povero at (909) 798-7580 or Redlands Police Dispatch at (909) 798-7681.

Anonymous tips can be texted 274637 using the keyword “REDTIP.” Certain non-emergency crimes may also be reported online using the Redlands Police Department’s CopLogic reporting system.

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