SANTA ANA ( — An anonymous tipster who saw the van of a suspected robber broadcast on the news has led to the arrest of a Santa Ana man.

Heriberto Escalera Contreras, 36, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of burglary and possession of methamphetamine.

Santa Ana police officers had gone to the 7-Eleven, 2242 S. Grand Ave., to investigate an anonymous tip that a van, which was shown on a broadcast report about a robbery, was seen in the store’s parking lot. When the officers arrived, they found the van and a Mobile gas employee told officers what the driver was wearing, police said.

The officers found the driver, later identified as Contreras, in the area and detained him. Contreras had the keys to the van in his pocket and acknowledge it belonged to him, police said.

The suspect and van were implicated in a robbery that happened Monday morning at that very 7-Eleven, police said.

The suspect in that robbery had taken a woman’s wallet from the center console of car parked next to him, then got back into his van. The woman’s 10-year-old daughter, who had been inside the car, got out and struggled with the robber for about a minute over her mother’s wallet, police said.

The suspect eventually handed the girl the wallet and was about to leave when the girl’s mother came out of the 7-Eleven, and learned about the attempted robbery. As the woman called 911, the girl used her cell phone to take a picture of the rear license plate as the suspect drove away.

The girl was not injured.


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