SAPD: Man punched 72-year-old store clerk, pepper-sprayed nail tech in separate robberies

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - Police on Saturday arrested a man suspected of punching a 72-year-old Walgreens employee and pepper-spraying a nail technician during separate robberies, arrest affidavits for the man state.

Gabriel Anthony Gonzales, 19, is facing a charge of aggravated robbery and robbery following two separate incidents in which police said he stole money.

Arrest documents state that the first robbery occurred Tuesday at a Walgreens in the 14000 block of Nacogdoches Road. According to authorities, Gonzales and a woman whose name is not listed in the arrest affidavit walked into the store around 10:30 p.m. and the pair asked for change for a dollar, court documents state.

When the cashier opened the register, Gonzales tried to grab the cash, an affidavit states. The cashier tried to close the register but backed away from the till when Gonzales punched him and the woman pepper-sprayed him, the warrant details.

Gonzales and the woman got away with the "cash door" of the register, but a woman who was arrested in a separate incident told police the pair were unable to access the money in the drawer.

According to another affidavit, the second robbery occurred Thursday at the Solar Nails Studio in the 14000 block of Huebner Road. In that incident, Gonzales and 18-year-old Presley Renee Lara went to the salon to have some of Lara's nails repaired, the warrant states. 

According to court documents, Gonzales sat next to Lara as the salon employee worked on her nails and that once the employee finished, Gonzales whispered something to Lara, then told her to go wait in the car. 

The employee thought that Gonzales was going to give him a tip, but instead, Gonzales pepper-sprayed him and grabbed a bank bag from underneath the register, the warrant states. The pair took off but their vehicle was captured on surveillance cameras, according to court documents. 

On Saturday, officers conducted a routine traffic stop on the car and discovered it matched the description of the car involved in the nail salon robbery, the warrant details. Police arrested Lara for driving without a driver's license and arrested her male passenger for possession of cocaine, court documents state. Though, it's unclear if her passenger was Gonzales.

According to the warrant, Lara was brought to the Robbery Task Force office to give a statement and during the interview, she told authorities that she and Gonzales went to the nail salon and that Gonzales told her to start the car and wait outside after the work was completed. She told Robbery Task Force investigators that when Gonzales came out of the salon, he had money from the salon and told her to "hurry up and drive," the warrant states.

According to court documents, Gonzales directed her to drive to a Chase bank to cash bank checks he had obtained from the bank bag, but the bank refused to cash them as the signatures did not match previous transactions.

Gonzales is charged with aggravated robbery, robbery and possession of a controlled substance, online records show.

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