ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- Two men were arrested last weekend after investigators said one suspect allegedly robbed a convenience store at gun point and another drove the getaway car. James Ponciano, 43, has been charged with Aggravated Robbery. Jesse Villescas, 24, has been charged with Aggravated Robbery and Escape While Arrested.
According to an Odessa Police Department report, around 8:40 p.m. on November 18, officers were called to a DK store in the 700 block of North County Road West to investigate a robbery in progress. While enroute, dispatch told responding officers that a man in a black jacket used a gun to steal property and then left the scene in a gray Honda. As officers approached the scene, they said they saw the suspect vehicle leaving the area with its lights off and conducted a traffic stop.
Inside that vehicle, officers said they found Ponciano behind the wheel and Villescas, who matched the description of the robbery suspect, in the front passenger seat. During a search of the vehicle, officers also found a handgun, $481 in cash, and a pack of Twisted Teas.
Back at the convenience store, officers spoke with a clerk, who identified Villescas as the alleged robber. The clerk said that Villescas entered the store and demanded free gas, he then reportedly took out a gun and demanded all the cash from the register. With cash in hand, the clerk said that Villescas also stole a pack of Twisted Tea and left the scene in the Honda. Investigators said the entire incident was caught on camera.
Ponciano did not enter the store, but investigators said he knew that Villescas had a gun and a history of stealing from gas stations and was culpable in the crime because he gave the younger suspect a ride to the store even after the young man told him he wanted to go “mess” with the employees. Investigators said Ponciano willingly drove away from the scene when Villescas returned with a hand full of cash and said, “Go, I got ’em.”
Ponciano was arrested and taken to the Ector County Law Enforcement Center where he remained as of Monday afternoon on a $50,000 bond. Villesca was also arrested, but was not initially taken to jail; instead, he was taken to Medical Center Hospital for medical clearance.
At MCH, investigators said that Villescas was removed from wrist restraints for medical tests. During that time, investigators said he “jerked” away from medical staff and sprinted toward the main lobby doors. He was apprehended a second time about 10 yards away and was taken to the Ector County Lae Enforcement Center without further incident. He also remained in custody as of Monday afternoon on a combined $65,000 bond.