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Movie theater robber who left no fingerprints gets 7 years prison

March 8, 2013 |  3:03 pm

A robber who impersonated a police officer to hold up a Buena Park movie theater in 2008 was careful to wear latex gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints. But what Fernando Manuel Ruiz didn't realize was that he left DNA on the gloves he left behind.

And that mistake led to him getting sentenced this week to seven years in state prison, authorities said.

With law enforcement across Orange County now turning to DNA to solve crimes, Buena Park police submitted a sample to the county's DNA database.

In August 2010, Ruiz  submitted a DNA sample for a misdemeanor violation for false registration of a vehicle. A month later, he was linked through his DNA to the armed robbery at the movie theater and was arrested by Buena Park police and investigators with the Orange County district attorney's office.

Ruiz was convicted last October 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.

In 2008, he entered the Krikorian Buena Park Metroplex 18 movie complex armed with a gun. According to prosecutors, Ruiz approached the manager and, identifying himself as a Buena Park Police Department detective, claimed to be investigating another robbery.

Ruiz sought access to the safe to check the serial numbers on the money.

He entered the manager’s office, looked at the serial numbers and then made several cellphone calls before pointing a weapon at the manager and tying him up with a telephone cord.

  A female employee entered the office, and Ruiz tied her hands behind her back using a computer mouse cord. He then stole $7,000 in cash from the safe and fled.


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-- Richard Winton