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2 Arrested In Alleged Blowtorch, Tire Iron Melee Outside OC Donut Shop

Blowtorch melee
Police say Fortina Rueda Jr.,(l) and Maria Guadalupe Caudillo were booked on suspicion of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. (Photo courtesy Santa Ana PD)

SANTA ANA ( — Two people were behind bars Friday on suspicion of robbery and assault after allegedly wielding a blowtorch and a tire iron outside a Santa Ana doughnut shop, police said.

Fortina Rueda Jr., 33, and Maria Guadalupe Caudillo, 40, both of Santa Ana, were booked on suspicion of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

A third suspect was still at-large, Bertagna said.

Police responded to the store in the 800 block of north Fairview about 6:30 a.m. after a 42-year-old male gardener parked his truck loaded with garden equipment at the location before entering the doughnut shop to buy breakfast, police said.

A witness saw three suspects stealing the garden equipment from the victim's truck and blocked the suspects' vehicle to prevent escape, according to police.

A fight ensued between the victim, witnesses and the suspects in the parking lot, resulting in vehicle windows being broken, police said.

That's when Bertagna alleges one of the male suspects lit a blowtorch and chased the victim with it in an attempt to burn him.

"Caudillo grabbed a tire iron and started flailing at the gardeners and other doughnut store customers and Rueda grabbed a blowtorch to use as a weapon," Bertagna said.

Caudillo was swinging the star-shaped tire iron so wildly that she not only smashed a window in the victim's vehicle, but her own as well, Bertagna said. Rueda, meanwhile, chased the victim around with the blowtorch, Bertagna said.

The third suspect - described by police as a male about 5-feet-8 inches tall tall, 200 pounds with a muscular build and wearing a hoodie over his head - fled the scene on foot.

Police arrived at the scene in response to multiple 911 calls and arrested two of the three suspects.

There were no reports of injuries, police said.

Caudillo and Rueda were being held in the Santa Ana jail on $25,000 bail.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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