For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR ROBBERY AT MOVIE THEATRE BY PRETENDING TO BE A POLICE OFFICER
*Defendant was linked to the crime through DNA using OCDA’s DNA database
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced yesterday to seven years in state prison for impersonating a police officer to rob employees at a movie theatre after being linked to the crime through DNA using the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) local DNA database. Fernando Manuel Ruiz, 40, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty Oct. 24, 2012, to two felony counts each of second degree robbery and false imprisonment by violence or deceit with sentencing enhancements for being armed with a deadly weapon and impersonating a peace officer.
At approximately 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, 2008, Ruiz entered the Krikorian Buena Park Metroplex 18 movie theatre with the intention of robbing employees. The defendant was armed with a weapon, which appeared to be a firearm, but it was never determined if the firearm was real or fake.
Ruiz approached the manager, Eric L., and falsely identifying himself as a Buena Park Police Department (BPPD) investigator and claimed to be investigating another robbery. The defendant provided a fake business card and badge to Eric L. and asked to be shown the serial numbers on the money inside theater’s safe. Ruiz entered the manager’s office, viewed the safe money serial numbers, and then made several cell phone calls while standing outside of the office. Minutes later, the defendant re-entered the manager’s office, pointed his weapon at Eric L., ordered him to the ground, and tied his wrists with a telephone cord.
During the robbery Tammy P., an employee of the theatre, entered the office. Ruiz tied her hands behind her back using a computer mouse cord. The collected the surveillance footage and destroyed it. He then stole $7,000 cash from the theatre’s safe and fled the scene. Eric L. called 911.
BPPD officers responded to the scene and investigated the case. Ruiz left DNA on latex gloves at the scene, which police collected and submitted to the OCDA’s local DNA database.
In August 2010, Ruiz agreed to submit a DNA sample for a misdemeanor violation for false registration of a vehicle. A month later, in September 2010, Ruiz was linked to crime using the OCDA’s local DNA database and was arrested by BPPD officers and OCDA Investigators.
BPPD investigated this case. Deputy District Attorney Steve Schriver of the DNA Unit prosecuted this case.