Police arrest 2nd man in connection with armed grocery store robbery in Castle Coakley


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ST. CROIX - Police have arrested the second man they say is responsible for the mid-afternoon armed robbery of a wholesale grocery store last month, while the first suspect remains hospitalized.

Daniel Ramos, 39, of Clifton Hill was advised of his rights in V.I. Superior Court on Friday, after being charged with the crimes of first-degree robbery; third-degree assault; grand larceny; possession of stolen property; carrying a dangerous weapon during the commission of a violent crime; failure to report a firearm brought into the territory; and possession of ammunition in connection to the robbery June 21 of Quality Food in Castle Coakley.

The other man, Edigbierto Diaz, 45, of Estate Profit, was arrested as he lay seriously wounded at Luis Hospital, two days after he was shot three times by police. The shooting happened when Diaz and another man - now identified as Ramos - tried to make their getaway following the armed robbery of the wholesale food market and retail store, police said.

However, prosecutors have since moved to withdraw charges filed against Diaz until he recovers enough so that he is alert and not as highly medicated and can effectively participate in the process of advising him of his rights.

According to police, emergency dispatchers were notified about the armed robbery just before 4 p.m.

Police reported that they responded within minutes of the robbery call and encountered two men - now identified as Ramos and Diaz - dressed in dark clothing, wearing masks and wielding handguns as they ran away from the store.

When the men saw officers approaching, they ran back into the business, then out through the shipment-receiving door, according to police.

Smith said officers reported that as they ordered the men to stop, one of the men - now identified as Diaz - pointed his firearm at the responding officers as he ran, and the officer opened fire.

Diaz was shot three times.

Police said Ramos fled into the bush in the Castle Coakley area and remained at large for several days.

According to a police statement following the robbery, two adults and a child were inside the business when it was robbed, but they were not injured.

Police said one of the employees was in the store when two gunmen came in wearing masks and brandishing firearms. The employee told police the robbers ordered the workers to open the safe and give them all of the money and the keys to their vehicles. As the workers complied, the men also took two backpacks, which contained laptop computers and a cell phone, before leaving the business with several thousand dollars, according to police.

Police said they followed numerous leads and reports regarding the location of Ramos.

On Monday, Ramos' bail was set at $250,000.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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