East Bay trio held in jewelry store heist


Three East Bay men have been arrested after the employees and customers of a Santa Rosa jewelry store were held at gunpoint as the store was being robbed.

Police say the trouble started around 1 p.m. Tuesday when one man armed with a shotgun and a second man wielding a hammer walked into Bennett Valley Jewelers.

Santa Rosa police Lt. Ray Navarro says the man with the shotgun pointed the weapon at the store’s customers and employees, while the second man used the hammer to smash jewelry cases and grab the jewelry inside.

During the robbery, one of the employees opened fire with several shots, missing the robbers but prompting them to run from the store.

Police say the two robbers clambered over a fence behind the store, ran into an apartment complex and jumped into a getaway car while a third man drove away.

About 20 minutes later police in nearby Petaluma pulled the car over and arrested the three men inside. Police say they found a gun in the car they believed was used in the heist and jewelry from the store.

Police identified the three suspects as 23-year-old  Traveon Banks-Austin, of San Pablo, and 23-year-old Alexander Tyvon Brandon and 25-year-old Ervin Dixon Jr., both of Hayward.

All three men were being held on suspicion of robbery.

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