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Woman assailed, robbed

WINTON -- Everything about a Winton woman's day was routine early Monday morning until she returned to her van and found a man with a gun lurking behind the driver's seat. The woman ultimately escaped unharmed from the harrowing carjacking/kidnapping/robbery incident.

Sgt. Jason Goins, supervisor of the Major Crimes Unit of the Merced County Sheriff's Department said the incident began in the 7100 block of Center Avenue. The man ordered the woman, in her early 30s, to drive to an orchard at Oakdale and Shaffer roads in the outlying Winton area where he ordered her out of the car and demanded all her money.

After the woman complied with the demand, the robber became distracted with the cash and she ran back to the van and started to drive off. The woman was able to escape even though the man attempted to slash the tires with a knife as she sped away. She went to an area dairy and asked for help.

Goins said the woman was on the way to work and had dropped off her children at a friend's home before returning to her van. Her assailant is described as a Hispanic male, 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds. He had a black mustache, was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored pants and a black beanie cap. He was armed with a silver handgun.

The incident lasted about 15 minutes, the sergeant said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Major Crimes Unit at 209-725-3880.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com">dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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