Las Vegas Sun

January 21, 2019

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2 men arrested in Las Vegas-area retail theft ring

Click to enlarge photo

Raul Cruz

Click to enlarge photo

Kenneth Payne

The suspects would rush out of stores with shopping carts full of stolen items including electronics and food, and one of them would use a baton or a stun gun to terrorize anyone who confronted them.

At least four suspects in a string of at least eight robberies at Las Vegas and North Las Vegas stores, which began in October, remain unidentified and on the run, police said. Two were arrested Saturday night.

Raul Cruz, 26, and getaway driver Kenneth Payne, 30, were taken into custody during a robbery at a business in the 8600 block of West Charleston Boulevard, near Durango Drive, police said. Workers had recognized the suspects from news reports.

Employees of the store called 911 about 8 p.m. sometime after the alleged thieves arrived at the business and began loading shopping carts, police said. An employee confronted them as they headed toward a back exit, but Cruz threatened the employee with a baton, according to police.

That’s when a Metro officer arrived and confronted the suspects, who took off running, police said. That officer took Cruz into custody in a nearby neighborhood.

Payne, the getaway driver, stayed at the scene where he was arrested, police said.

The robberies followed a similar modus operandi. The suspects would load up shopping carts and flee through fire exits at the back of the businesses and load up the stolen merchandise into a getaway car.

If confronted, a suspect — believed to be Cruz — would threaten those who followed them with a baton or a stun gun, police said.

Cruz and Payne were booked at the Clark County Detention Center on multiple counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, felony theft and conspiracy to commit felony theft, police said.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the unidentified suspects is asked to call police at 702-828-3483. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or