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Two violent robberies reported within two days

Not only is this the season to be jolly, it's also the time when strong-armed robberies are more likely to occur.

Lt. Bimley West of the Merced Police Department said a 32-year-old Merced man received a minor stab wound at 5:26 a.m. Wednesday when he was accosted by two men at a pay telephone outside a market at 1055 W. Childs Ave.

In a separate incident at 6:22 p.m. Tuesday, Miguel Soto, 26, of Merced was beat up by three people as he went to buy beer for a party in the 1300 block of East Santa Fe Avenue. Soto received minor injuries, and two adults and a juvenile later were arrested on armed robbery charges, West said.

West said residents need to be extra cautious in dark or sparsely populated residential areas. He said increased security presence in shopping areas has discouraged robberies there but these incidents happen more often in other areas.

In the Childs Avenue incident, Robert Mariscao was taken to the Community Campus of Mercy Medical Center Merced for treatment of a stab wound to his left arm.

West said two black male adults wearing dark clothing and bandanas over their faces came up from behind Mariscao as he was using the telephone. About $280 in cash was taken from Mariscao as one of the robbers held a knife to his neck and the other rifled through his pockets.

In the Santa Fe Avenue robbery, Soto was taken to the Community Campus of Mercy Medical Center Merced for treatment of minor injuries. Frank Ramos, 20, Vincent Mora, 21, and a 17-year-old girl were arrested on robbery charges. Mora and Ramos remained jailed Wednesday night in lieu of $65,000 bail each, according to a correctional official.

Ramos and Mora were arrested later after they were found hiding in a crawl space at a Shadowbrook Avenue apartment, West said.

West said a cell telephone, watch and $80 in cash were taken from Soto as he was leaving the Santa Fe Avenue party to get beer.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209 385-2485 or