VIPD finally arrest injured man charged in armed robbery of Castle Coakley grocery store


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ST. CROIX - After being shot by police and seriously injured during what law enforcement officials said was a botched robbery in June, Edigbierto Diaz was released from Luis Hospital on Tuesday, only to be taken immediately into custody and arrested on robbery and related charges.

Diaz, 45, of Estate Profit appeared before Magistrate Jessica Gallivan on Wednesday morning to be advised of his rights on charges 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 with the robbery June 21 of Quality Foods in Castle Coakley.

Daniel Ramos, 39, of Clifton Hill - who police said was the second man involved in the robbery - was arrested July 5 on similar charges.

Diaz had been arrested previously just days after the robbery, but because of the severity of his injuries and his being on heavy pain medication, police determined that he was not in the right frame of mind to go through with an advice of rights hearing at that time. The charges and the probable cause fact sheet at that time were withdrawn by the Attorney General's Office.

According to police, emergency dispatchers were notified about the armed robbery just before 4 p.m. June 21.

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 shipping door, according to police.

According to the affidavit filed by V.I. Police Detective Cureen Smith, as officers ordered the men to stop, one of the men - now identified as Diaz - pointed his firearm at them as he ran, and one of the officers 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.

Bail for both men has been set at $250,000 and they remain jailed at Golden Grove Correctional Facility unable to post bail and meet the conditions of their release.

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

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