PROVO — Three people have been arrested and charged in connection with a string of business robberies throughout Utah County, including a pair of tanning salon robberies.
Brothers Alejandro Guadelupe Alcantar, 20, and Christian Alcantar, 18, both of Provo, along with Raul Azehel Zubia, 19, of Springville, were each charged in 4th District Court with multiple counts of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice and witness retaliation.
Police say the group can be linked to at least eight robberies throughout Utah County between Jan. 7 and April 4. They were looking at possible additional cases Friday. Detectives are also investigating whether additional people were involved.
The crime spree included fast food restaurants, a cell phone store and a couple of tanning salons. The suspects were armed during each robbery, and in some cases forced employees and patrons onto the floor or into a back room where there was a safe, said Provo police officer Jon Orgill.
In one incident, a shot was fired but no one was hurt, he said.
Other than getting money, Orgill said he did not know what the motivation was for the robberies.
On April 4, investigators believe Zubia and Alejandro Alcantar robbed businesses in Orem, Provo and Springville including Springville's Gold N' Glow Tanning and Waikiki Beach at 2255 N. University Parkway in Provo.
An Orem business was also robbed and witnesses got a good description of the get-away vehicle, said Orgill. That information was shared with other officers, and just after midnight on April 5, an alert Provo officer spotted a car matching the description leaving the Traveler’s Inn, 70 E. 300 South.
The vehicle was pulled over and the two occupants ran. Backup officers, including K9s were called and Alcantar and Zubia were arrested. Investigators obtained a search warrant for their vehicle and found evidence that linked to a robbery at University Mall, Orgill said.
The Utah County Major Crimes Task Force was called and worked with several Utah County agencies to identify the third suspect and link their alleged crime spree. On April 10, the group served two search warrants at 358 N. 400 West #2, and 2092 S. California Ave. Evidence linking the group to the robberies, such as clothing and a gun, was collected from each location, Orgill said.
"This is a good example of different agencies working together," he said.
Alejandro Alcantar appeared in court earlier this week in Provo on a 2011 charge of theft by receiving stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on those charges but it was waived.
Christian Alcantar was charged earlier this month in 4th District Court in a separate case with felony graffiti, failure to stop for law enforcement and misdemeanor drug possession. His preliminary hearing was also waived this week.
He took a plea in abeyance on March 29 for unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon. He was also charged in Provo Justice Court in March with alcohol consumption by a minor, disorderly conduct and graffiti.