Robbers hit cash advance businesses

Police on Wednesday were looking for two men believed to have robbed two Modesto cash advance businesses at gunpoint in the past two weeks.

No shots were fired, and no injuries were reported in either robbery. Detectives believe a third robbery at a cash advance business was foiled, so they are asking other businesses to watch for other attempts.

The first robbery occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m. Nov. 15 at Advance America, 2101 Standiford Ave., just west of Prescott Road in north Modesto.

The second robbery occurred about 5:15 p.m. Monday at Fast Auto and Payday Loans, 601 Scenic Drive, between Bodem and Melrose streets in central Modesto.

Detectives believe the suspects had planned to rob another Advance America business at 1801 H St. in downtown Modesto minutes after the robbery on Scenic Drive, said Sgt. Brian Findlen, a Modesto police spokesman.

He said security procedures foiled the third robbery attempt. The business had received surveillance photographs of the suspects from the Standiford robbery and had implemented a procedure of unlocking the door and escorting customers into the business.

Findlen said a man arrived at the door and the employees said he looked similar to one of the suspects in the Standiford robbery. The employees refused to unlock the door and called police. The man at the door quickly left.

In both robberies, one of the men brandished a gun and demanded money from a teller before both suspects left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police encouraged other check cashing and cash advance businesses to increase their vigilance and consider revising security procedures to mirror those implemented by the downtown Advance America business.

Detectives hope someone will recognize the suspects in the surveillance photographs released by police Wednesday.

Police described the first suspect as a black male, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing about 190 pounds with a thin mustache and goatee.

The second suspect was described as a black man, about 5 feet 2 inches tall with a small build, and he was wearing a mask in the first robbery.

Detectives ask anyone who recognizes the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site,, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" and a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at or 578-2394.