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UPDATED: Charges dropped against 2 in attempted robbery

D.A. says not enough evidence; third suspect remains jailed

Posted: January 5, 2010 3:23 p.m.
Updated: January 7, 2010 4:30 p.m.
UPDATE: Jan. 7, 2010, 4:30 p.m.
Prosecutors have declined to file charges against two of three people arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery this week outside of a Canyon Country auto parts store.

Marie Juarez, 40, and Ernesto Mendoza, 20, were released Wednesday after prosecutors found there wasn't enough evidence to charge them with any crimes, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

A third man, Juan Patino, 34, remained jailed without bail, officials said.

The three were arrested Monday after Patino allegedly dropped a handgun and a bag of methamphetamine in the AutoZone shop near the intersection of Whites Canyon and Soledad Canyon roads.

Mendoza was in the store with Patino and Juarez was waiting outside near a car, a sheriff's report said.


ORIGINAL STORY, Jan. 6, 2010:
Three people were behind bars Tuesday after allegedly trying to rob a Canyon Country auto parts store with a loaded pistol, authorities said.

Ernesto Mendoza, 20, and Marie Juarez, 40, both from Canyon Country, were arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery. Juan Patino, 34, of La Puente also was arrested on suspicion of several felonies, including possession of a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm with altered or removed serial numbers and possession of methamphetamine, the report said.

About 7:45 p.m. Monday, a deputy went into AutoZone near the intersection of Whites Canyon and Soledad Canyon roads after he noticed a couple of men behaving suspiciously outside the store.

Once inside, the deputy saw Patino reach into his pants and throw something into an anti-freeze display - which turned out to be a loaded semi-automatic handgun.

The men had also allegedly dropped a bag of methamphetamine on the floor of the shop.

Deputies arrested Patino and Mendoza in the store, and then nabbed Juarez, who was waiting outside near a car with covered-up license plates, the report said.

All three suspects were booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and are being held in lieu of $100,000.


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