ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Two men have been arrested in connection with the robbery of three people on their way to work at PennDOT early Friday in ALlentown, police said.
According to Allentown Police, around 6:20 a.m., the first victim was walking in the 900 block of Maple Street, near S. Hazle Street, when a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and armed with a large knife pushed her to the ground.
She told police the man was saying something to her, which she believed to be in Spanish, and he was motioning toward her purse. She said she threw her purse at him and walked to the police station at 1005 Hamilton St.
The woman told police that her purse contained her keys, work badges, flip cell phone, about $100 in cash and a black .32 caliber handgun, which was loaded with eight rounds of ammunition.
About an hour later, police said a second woman called 911 to report she was approached by a man wearing a red hooded sweatshirt who pointed a small black handgun at her as she walked in the 900 block of Maple Street.
She told police she screamed at the man to leave her alone, then ran to work and called 911. The man did not get any of her property.
A third PennDOT employee told police he was walking in the 900 block of Maple Street around 7:30 a.m. when a man in a red hooded sweatshirt and holding a small black handgun approached him.
While on patrol looking for a suspect or property from the first robbery victim, two officers saw the robbery in progress with the third victim.
According to police documents, the two officers chased the robber on foot as he ran south on S. Hazle Street, but lost him after he climbed over a wooden fence at the rear of a home on S. 10th Street. He did leave behind a black sandal that was stuck in the fence.
Police talked to residents of a rear apartment at 27 S. 10th St., and began a search of the apartment. Officers found a flip-style cell phone similar to the one stolen from the first victim, broken in half.
Also in one of the apartment's bedrooms, police found 18-year-old Vladimir Correa Ayala of 928 Wyoming St., lying face down on a bed. At the foot of the bed was the matching black sandal, police said, and under the mattress they found a single live round of .32 caliber ammunition.
In addition, police said they found victim 1's purse, as well as the contents of the purse (except for the cell phone, cash and handgun) inside two black trash bags near the apartment.
On the second floor porch of a nearby apartment, police said they found the woman's stolen handgun.
Correa Ayala was arrested and charged with robbery and tampering with evidence.
He is at the Lehigh County Prison under $150,000 bail.
In a related incident, on Sunday morning around 6:30 a.m., police responded to a report of a break in at an apartment in the 900 block of Maple Street.
A man residing in the apartment told police he and his father were renovating the apartment and he'd gone outside to smoke a cigarette on the second floor balcony, when he went inside to use the bathroom, leaving the porch door open.
The victim told police he heard someone in the home and then saw 29-year-old Christian Albert Gutierrez standing in the doorway of the bathroom, and Gutierrez asked him the whereabouts of a gun that was thrown on the porch a few days before.
It was the gun used in the robberies on Friday, police said.
The victim told Gutierrez he had no knowledge of a gun, but then Gutierrez pulled him out of the bathroom and began to kick and beat him. He then took the man's watch, cell phone and cash, police said.
The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Police arrested Gutierrez, who admitted to police during an interview that he did enter the victim's home but said he did so with the victim's consent, and that the victim voluntarily gave him the property police found on him--the cell phone, silver watch and money.
The victim told police he did not give Gutierrez his permission to enter the home or take his belongings.
Gutierrez was arrested and charged with robbery, criminal trespass, and burglary.
He's at the Lehigh County Prison under $25,000 bail.
Allentown, PA 18102