Police: Inmate who escaped custody in June 2014 believed responsible for nearly a dozen robberies

RACINE COUNTY (WITI) -- Racine business owners say they can now rest easy after Racine police say they've arrested a man responsible for nearly a dozen robberies from the beginning of 2013 to the middle of 2014 that occurred in Racine County. Police believe this man is connected to the robbery crew arrested this week with the help of several law enforcement agencies -- including Milwaukee police.

Milwaukee police on Wednesday, March 11th announced the arrest of 11 suspects wanted in connection with an armed robbery spree that spanned three counties. These suspects are believed to be responsible for more than a dozen armed robberies in Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, and Racine County -- with most taking place in District Two on Milwaukee’s south side.

Police say these suspects started their crime spree in late fall of 2014 with their crimes stretching into January of 2015.The suspects used different members and vehicles to conceal their patterns and spread their crime spree throughout southeastern Wisconsin.  Police say this robbery crew is connected to a group of Spanish Cobra gang members imprisoned in 2013.  During the execution of search warrants Wednesday, evidence related to the robberies and firearms were recovered.

All of the suspects are being held on state charges.  MPD is working with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and federal indictments may be sought.

The investigation that resulted in the arrest of 11 suspects helped Racine police charge 34-year-old Jesus Arroyo in connection with 11 robberies.

In January of 2013, two men, their faces covered with bandanas barged into Jennifer Batayneh's family-run corner store -- demanding money.

"It was like three minutes. That`s it. It happened so fast. They just busted the door open and came running in -- two of them. One of them held one of my sons, who`s 19 now, I think he was 17 -- they held him in the corner with a gun, like a long type of sawed off gun," Batayneh said.

No one was injured, and the suspects ran off without getting their hands on any money -- but Batayneh admits the incident changed her.

"You`re careful more, you know? I look outside to see who's parked outside. You`re just more cautious," Batayneh said.

On Thursday, March 12th, Batayneh said a weight has been lifted. Police say they have one of the men responsible for this armed robbery in custody.

He is 34-year-old Jesus Arroyo. Police have connected him to 10 other robberies occurring within two years of the incident at Batayneh's store.

    Police say Arroyo has been in jail since June 2014. That's when he escaped from custody with the Department of Corrections for 12 hours. Arroyo was being transported to the Racine County Jail by a Department of Corrections agent, and police say when the DOC agent attempted to escort Arroyo to the jail prisoner entrance, Arroyo took off running onto Wisconsin Avenue. He was being held on a parole violation.

    Police say they had to wait until the multi-jurisdictional investigation that resulted in 11 arrests announced by Milwaukee police on Wednesday, March 11th before Arroyo could be criminally charged.

    Batayneh says she's just thankful law enforcement officials never gave up.

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