MODESTO (CBS13) – The Modesto Police Department is thanking social media and an alert Ripon Police officer with helping catch a man suspected of terrorizing a shopping center.
Police say that the shopping center along the 900 block of Oakdale Road was hit by three armed robberies in less than six hours Wednesday morning. The first incident happened just before 9 a.m. at the Subway. A man reportedly entered the business and pulled out a handgun, threatening the employees inside.
The next incident happened less than a half hour later at the Hair Repair business. A man is said to have walked in and threatened a woman inside. He reportedly looked to have a gun under his jacket. The woman was robbed, but she decided to follow the man for a short distance in her car to identify his getaway vehicle.
With the help of surveillance video from the previous robbery, police believe that it was the same suspect from the Subway robbery.
However, the suspect wasn’t done. Just before 1 p.m., officers were called to another robbery at the same shopping center – this time at the Asian Massage business. Again, police say the man walked in, pulled out a gun and demanded money. He then took off in what looked to be the same vehicle, a gray SUV.
After soliciting for tips online, a Ripon Police officer recognized the suspect from a previous traffic stop. The officer identified the suspect as 21-year-old Christopher Dial. Further, the officer recalled that Dial owned a realistic-looking BB gun.
Dial was later arrested after a traffic stop in Stockton. He was booked at Stanislaus County Jail on three robbery charges.