Cops: Carjacking not random; cash found in stolen car

Fruita Police department Sgt. John Coughran takes questions about the carjacking at a press conference at the MCSD.



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Fruita Police department Sgt. John Coughran takes questions about the carjacking at a press conference at the MCSD.

A vehicle targeted in a carjacking last week in Fruita, spurring a police pursuit and manhunt near Mack, had a “substantial” amount of cash hidden in a secret compartment, Fruita police Sgt. John Coughran said today.

The occupants of the vehicle claimed to have no knowledge the cash was in the car, which was discovered by Fruita investigators over the past week, Coughran said. He declined to answer a host of related questions about the 2008 Dodge Nitro, which was stolen at gunpoint Feb. 21 at Go-Fer Foods, 106 S. Park Square.

“This was not a random act,” Coughran told a press conference at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.

The Nitro pulled up to the Go-Fer around 3:40 p.m., occupied by two sisters from California. One of them went inside to pay for fuel, the other was sitting in the passenger seat when a Hispanic male climbed into the driver’s seat and told her to get out while holding a gun to her head, according to an arrest affidavit for 32-year-old German Martinez-Riveria of Los Angeles.

One of two suspects who fled the Dodge Nitro, near the intersection of R and 10 roads, has not been arrested and his identity remains unknown to law enforcement, authorities said today. Martinez-Riveria was arrested hiding in a ravine.

“It’s possible he left the area, even as far as Mexico,” Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said of the wanted man.

No local residents were targeted or believed to be involved in the incident, the Sheriff’s Department said.

A handgun authorities believed was used in the incident has not been recovered.

Read the full story in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel.

Watch a video of the press conference below:



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