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San Benito
February 27, 2024

Trial date moved for suspect in San Juan, Aromas robberies

The suspect accused of robbing stores in San Juan Bautista and Aromas, along with burglary of a San Juan home, had his trial date moved from September to November.

Matthew T. Cruddas, 20, had his scheduled jury trial moved from Sept. 10 to Nov. 5 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Steven Sanders. His trial is expected to last five days.

Cruddas is accused of robbing a San Juan Bautista store, Neil’s Market, and burglarizing a home on Via Serra, along with the Old Firehouse Market in Aromas.

According to a sheriff’s office statement released after his arrest:

At 3:07 p.m. June 24, San Benito County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to Via Serra Street in San Juan Bautista regarding a residential burglary that had just occurred. Deputies Tellez and Canez proceeded to Via Serra to make contact with the victim. Shortly after the burglary had been dispatched, deputies were re-directed to Neil’s Market, 54 Muckelemi St., regarding an armed robbery in progress. They responded there first due to the in-progress nature of the call.

While on their way the robbery, dispatch advised the suspect had fled the scene with a handgun and an undisclosed amount of cash. He and his vehicle were described in detail by witnesses. He was last seen driving west toward Highway 101 on Highway 156.

Deputies made contact with the victim at Neil’s Market who stated the male suspect had a white T-shirt covering his face. The victim stated this male subject told him, “Give me all your money or I’ll shoot you.” The victim said the male suspect displayed the front of his waistband, where there was a gun tucked into the waistband.

Upon making contact with the victims on Via Serra, it was found the suspect description and suspect vehicle matched that of the armed robbery.

It was later determined, following these crimes, there was an armed robbery in at The Old Firehouse Market in Aromas. There were also numerous hit-and run accidents in the area with the same suspect and vehicle description as the crimes in San Juan Bautista.

A short time later, deputies were informed there was yet another accident in the 1200 block of San Juan Road in Monterey County. CHP units were said to be out with an accident where the suspect was a match to the robberies and burglary. San Benito County Deputies (Sgt. Mull, Dep. Tellez and Dep. Canez) responded to the scene in Monterey County.

As an end-result to their investigation, deputies were able to match Matthew T. Cruddas to the crimes that had been committed. The handgun, cash and stolen property were all recovered. Cruddas was identified as the suspect in the armed robbery at Neil’s Market and the burglary on Via Serra. He was cleared at Hazel Hawkins Hospital and was booked into San Benito County Jail on multiple felonies.

-Kollin Kosmicki