Police follow trail of debris to nab robbery suspects
Police said two men who held up a Mexican restaurant in Northeast Austin on Sunday night were thwarted by two passers-by who followed the robbers — despite being threatened and shot at — and who inadvertently gave police a trail to follow when the robbers jumped in a pickup and rammed their car from behind.
Carlos Vargas-Zavala, 25, and Paul Anthony Rebolloso, 24, held up Los Jaliscienses restaurant at 6201 E. U.S. 290 about 11 p.m. Sunday, according to an arrest affidavit. One of the men wielded a pistol, and both wore white handkerchiefs over their faces, the affidavit said.
Margartio Morales-Morales and Martin Belmontes were driving in Belmontes’ car when they saw Vargas-Zavala and Rebolloso — one carrying a cash register and the other carrying a gun — running to- ward Sheridan Avenue from the direction of the restaurant, the affidavit said.
When Belmontes pulled the car closer, Morales yelled to the men, asking what they were doing, the affidavit said. The man with the gun threatened to kill Belmontes and Morales if they didn’t leave and then fired the gun into the air, the affidavit said.
Belmontes called police and continued to follow the men in his car, the affidavit said.
When the man carrying the gun saw that he was still being followed, he turned and fired three times at the car but missed, police said.
Vargas-Zavala and Rebolloso got into their pickup and began to follow Belmontes’ car, then rammed it twice, spinning it into another vehicle, the affidavit said. The truck then lost control and struck a pole before fleeing — leaving behind a trail of debris and fluid.
Police followed the debris to an apartment complex at 1114 Camino La Costa — less than a mile from the crash site — and found the damaged truck with the cash register in the bed, the affidavit said.
They found Rebolloso in the parking lot of the Extended Stay Deluxe hotel a few blocks away and Vargas-Zavala hiding in a trash bin, the affidavit said.
The affidavit said that Vargas-Zavala confessed to the robbery but that Rebolloso denied involvement, although police said he acknowledged that the pistol — which was found near a building in the apartment complex — was his.
Both men have been charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and attempted capital murder, both firstdegree felonies, and are being held on $100,000 bail, according to the affidavit.