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UPDATE: 3 Pittsburg Suspects in Armed Robbery Spree Released from Jail on Judge's Order

PITTSBURG (CBS SF) -- Police in Pittsburg on Friday announced that three men who are facing 19 counts of felony armed robbery for a crime spree across the East Bay dating back to August were released from custody on a judge's order earlier this week.

The Pittsburg Police Department posted about the release of the three men who have been charged in multiple armed robberies on Twitter and Facebook.

The three Pittsburg men -- identified as 18-year-old Samuel Banales-Melena, 20-year-old Jonathan Medina-Flores, and 18-year-old Rogelio Medina-Flores -- are suspected in the armed, three-month crime spree that targeted over two dozen businesses in Antioch, Pittsburg, Concord, Brentwood, Bay Point, and Clayton between August and November. Seven of the armed robberies took place in Pittsburg, police said.

Law enforcement agencies for each of the involved East Bay communities began working together to identify the suspects and stop this rash of violent crimes, according to the department.

On Nov. 3 of last year, Concord police were investigating a related robbery in their city and notified surrounding law enforcement agencies and provided a description of the vehicle connected to the crimes. Shortly thereafter, the suspect vehicle was located and stopped in the city of Pittsburg. All three men in the vehicle were arrested.

Officers said they found evidence of the Concord robbery in their vehicle. Antioch police said subsequent searches of several homes in Pittsburg turned up evidence of other robberies. Two days after the suspects were arrested, investigators from multiple jurisdictions made their case to the Contra Costa County DA's office, which then filed charges. Along with the businesses, the trio is also accused of robbing employees and customers.

"This case was successful due to the collaboration of the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation," Antioch police said. "This investigation weighed heavily on the implementation and use of technology, to include license plate-reading cameras in the city of Antioch and other technological surveillance efforts."

The District Attorney's Office reviewed the cases and filed felony robbery charges with enhancements against the three men. On November 29, all three suspects appeared in Contra Costa County Superior Court for a preliminary hearing. After the presiding judge heard testimony from detectives and officers, along with a vast amount of evidence, all three men were held to answer for 19 counts of armed robbery, with a pending jury trial to take place at a later date.

However, police said that despite the fact that the county's Custody Alternative Program rejected all three men from being released into its custody due to the violent nature of the crimes the men were charged with, the judge was unwilling to allow the men to remain in jail and overruled the rejection.

Pittsburg police said the judge 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. The three suspects were released to the program on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 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," the statement released by the Department read.

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