A day after the Pittsburg Police Department informed the community that three suspects that are possibly connected to as many as 25-armed robberies, Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston issued a statement sharing concerns over the decision.
The trio of 18-year-old Samuel Banales-Melena, 20-year-old Jonathan Medina-Flores, and 18-year-old Rogelio Medina-Flores nineteen (19) counts of robbery. The robberies matched similar ones that had occurred in the City of Antioch, City of Concord, City of Brentwood, Bay Point and Clayton.
Here is the statement from Sheriff David Livingston:
“I share Pittsburg Police Chief Brian Addington’s deep concerns about these three charged armed robbery suspects being released from custody and being placed into a private alternative custody program,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. “My priority has always been public safety in this county. As suspects in 19 robberies in Contra Costa and based on the seriousness of their offenses, these three did not qualify for the Sheriff’s Office Custody Alternative Program and should have remained in custody in jail.”
Pittsburg Police released their statement as a way to inform the community of what had transpired in the case.
According to police, even though the Custody Alternative Program rejected all three men into their program, the judge overruled the rejection. He then authorized the release of all three men to a private contracted company to be placed into that company’s alternative custody program with an electronic ankle monitoring system. All three men were released to this program on January 5, 2022 and are no longer in jail.
According to the sheriffs office, here is a look at the Custody Alternative Program which offers three alternative to traditional custody:
- Work Alternative Program (WAP): 1-30 days – offenders with sentences less than 30 days work at various assigned worksites during daytime hours and receive day for day credit on their sentences.
- Electronic Home Detention (EHD) : 31-365 days – offenders with sentences above 30 days are fitted with an EHD monitoring anklet and are monitored electronically 24-hours a day. Their person, property, and home are subject to search at any time. In addition, offenders that are required to wear an alcohol monitor SCRAM are monitored within the EHD program. Participants must have stable housing situation.
- County Parole Program (CPP): 31-365 Days – In custody inmates may apply for this program. They will appear before the County Parole Board and if accepted they will be fitted with EHD equipment and monitored 24-hours a day. Their person, property, and home are subject at any time. Participants must have stable housing situation.
Here is the statement by Pittsburg Police.
During the month of August 2021, the Pittsburg Police Department investigated seven armed robberies that occurred throughout the city. During the investigation of these crimes, the suspects were all described as men in their late teens or early twenties, with masks covering their faces.
Pittsburg Detectives took over the investigations and quickly determined there had been just over twenty additional robberies from local businesses that had taken place within the communities of Antioch, Concord, Brentwood, Bay Point, and Clayton.
All of these robberies included the same suspect description as the three suspects in the Pittsburg robberies. The law enforcement agencies for each of these communities began working together to identify the suspects and stop this rash of violent crimes.
On November 3rd, 2021, the Concord Police Department investigated a related robbery in their city. The Concord Police Department quickly notified surrounding law enforcement agencies and provided a description of the vehicle connected to the crimes. A short time later, the suspect vehicle was located and stopped in the city of Pittsburg. All three men in the vehicle were placed under arrest and charged for the series of robberies they committed throughout Contra Costa County.
A few days later, six law enforcement agencies presented these crimes to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney’s Office reviewed the cases and filed felony robbery charges with enhancements on 18-year-old Samuel Banales-Melena, 20-year-old Jonathan Medina-Flores, and 18-year-old Rogelio Medina-Flores for their participation in the crimes.
The hard work from investigators from the Pittsburg Police Department, Antioch Police Department, Brentwood Police Department, Concord Police Department, and the Contra Costa County Sheriffs Office paid off and these criminals were no longer a threat to our communities.
On November 29, 2021, all three of these men appeared in Contra Costa County Superior Court for a Preliminary Hearing. After the Judge heard testimony from detectives and officers, along with a vast amount of evidence, all three men were held to answer for nineteen (19) counts of armed robbery, with a pending jury trial to take place at a later date.
Unfortunately, at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the presiding judge over the case decided to release all three men from jail and be placed under the supervision of the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Custody Alternative Program. This program provides alternatives to traditional incarceration by placing subjects on electronic home supervision with an ankle monitor under the supervision of the Custody Alternative Facility. What this means is all three men would be released from jail pending the jury trial and allowed to remain at home with an ankle monitor.
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Custody Alternative Program was notified of the release of the three men and the nineteen (19) counts of robbery they were being held for. Based on this information, and the violent nature of the crimes the men were charged with, the Custody Alternative Program rejected all three men from being released into the program’s custody. The presiding Judge for the case was informed of the rejection and the refusal of acceptance of the men to the custody alternative program.
Unfortunately, the Judge was unwilling to allow the men to remain in custody and overruled the rejection, and authorized the release of all three men to a private contracted company to be placed into that company’s alternative custody program with an electronic ankle monitoring system. All three men were released to this program on January 5, 2022 and are no longer in jail.
It is with concern for our community and our commitment to keep our citizens and businesses safe, the Pittsburg Police Department is providing this information.