Diaz, Soliz charged with armed robbery; are currently in other jails

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Ralph's grocery customers can rest at ease now that police obtained warrants for the two gunmen who robbed the store more than a year ago.

Police investigators served Eladio Diaz Jr., 47, with an arrest warrant Thursday afternoon while serving time at the Nueces County jail for other charges of aggravated robbery and an escape charge, said Sgt. Rex Ramon with the police department.

The other suspect, Romualdo "Mario" Soliz Jr., 27, will be served at a later date at a county jail near Waco, where he is currently being housed. Soliz is a native of Benavides.

Diaz and Soliz face felony charges of aggravated armed robbery for the Ralph's robbery at 10:40 a.m. on July 21, 2006. The two made off with almost $30,000, police said.

At the time of the armed robbery, police said the duo resided in Corpus Christi, where they reportedly committed other robberies.

"With the assistance and guidance of the district attorney's office, we were able to develop the case against the individuals who committed the aggravated armed robbery at Ralph's food store at 434 South Reynolds," Police Chief Danny Bueno said. "This case is a year old, however, the hard work and determination led this department to arrest these individuals and bring them to justice."

Lt. Luis Barrera with the police department commends the store's owner for his patience.

"I would like to thank the owner and victim, Mr. John Huerta, for his patience and the community of Alice," he said. "The degree of difficulty caused us a tremendous barrier for us to solve this case."

Head investigator, Ramon, said that with assistance from Duval County Constable Raul Oliveira and his sources, they were able to gather evidence against the suspects and the case began to flourish around June.

"Through tips, that we followed up, led us to Corpus Christi," Ramon said. "We started to track them down."

According to Ramon, the case was at a "stand still" because no leads were coming in because the two men made their getaway immediately after the heist and reports say they took off to Houston.

"A case of this caliber…you don't forget," Ramon said. "These guys, the same time we were looking for them, other law enforcement (agencies) were looking for them."

Bueno agreed the case took a lot of perseverance and diligence from everyone.

"It didn't come to us on a platter, it took a lot of hard work," he said. "We, the Alice Police Department, have the responsibility to protect the citizens of this community and we will use every resource available to us to make an arrest…I am very proud of the men and women of this department for providing the community with service they deserve."