Troopers Arrest Trenton Men for
Armed Robbery on the Turnpike
Hamilton Township, Mercer County, N.J. - A three month investigation by the New Jersey State Police has led to the
arrest of four Trenton men in connection with the armed robbery of a Sunoco gas station on the New Jersey Turnpike. The robbery
appears to be, in part, an inside job, since one of those arrested was working at the gas station on the night of the robbery.
On the evening of Saturday, December 29, troopers from Moorestown Barracks responded to the Woodrow Wilson Service Area
to investigate an armed robbery. Troopers reviewed video surveillance that showed two men armed with handguns entered the
business office, assault and tie up an employee, and take an undisclosed amount of cash.
Within days, detectives from the Troop “D” Criminal Investigations Office made significant progress in the case. They
developed two suspects, Pedro Perez, 35, of Ashmore Avenue and Byron Rodas, 20 of South Clinton Avenue. Rodas was working
as an attendant at the targeted gas station. He walked away from the Sunoco office during the robbery, and initially gave
troopers a false identity. Later in the investigation, detectives identified Samuel-Matias Cruz, 33, and Arturo
DeLaCruz, 34, both of Hewitt Street as additional suspects.
On Tuesday, January 8, Rodas was interviewed at the Moorestown Barracks for providing false information. He was arrested
and charged with Hindering Arrest, Identify Theft, and Forgery. He denied any involvement in the armed robbery, and was
released pending a court date.
The investigation continued, and on Wednesday, March 20, State Police, Trenton Police, and ICE, executed a search warrant
at the residence Perez and Rodas shared on South Clinton Avenue. Detectives recovered clothing and the victim’s personal
property along with other evidence further implicating the two.
Perez, who was located at the residence, was charged with Armed Robbery, Armed Burglary, Aggravated Assault, Criminal
Restraint, Theft, Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose, and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon he was lodged in the
Mercer County Jail in lieu of $70,000 full cash bail.
Byron Rodas allegedly provided information to Perez and Matias-Cruz about the layout of the gas station. He was arrested
at his residence and charged with Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Burglary, Conspiracy to
Commit Aggravated Assault, Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Restraint, Theft, and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (for a
pair of ‘brass knuckles’ found in his possession) he was lodged in the Mercer County Jail in lieu of $100,000 full cash bail.
On Tuesday, March 26, troopers assisted Trenton Police with the execution of a search warrant at Arturo DeLaCruz’s apartment.
Investigators recovered additional evidence linking the four to the armed robbery. DeLaCruz was processed for the arrest at
the Burlington County Jail, where he was already incarcerated for an armed robbery in Westampton Township one week prior.
He was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, and remains in the Burlington County Jail on $100,000 full cash bail in
reference to the new charges.
The last arrest was made on Wednesday, April 10, when the State Police Fugitive Unit and the US Marshals Task Force
located and arrested Samuel Matias-Cruz in Pleasantville, N.J. Cruz was charged with Armed Robbery, Armed Burglary,
Aggravated Assault, Criminal Restraint, Theft, Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose, and Unlawful Possession of a
Weapon. He was lodged in the Mercer County Jail in Lieu of $572,500 full cash bail. Samuel Cruz was also wanted in Puerto Rico
Charges are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
|Click images for larger view
|Samuel-Matias Cruz, 34, of Hewitt Street
||Arturo DeLaCruz, 34, of Hewitt Street
|Pedro Perez, 35, of Ashmore Avenue
||Byron Rodas, 20 of South Clinton Avenue
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