Man Arrested in Connection to Armed Robbery at Picantes


The Lubbock Police Department arrested one of the three suspects involved in the Picantes’ restaurant armed robbery on January 27.

The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office released jail records Wednesday for 22-year-old Damian Ray Villareal on speeding and aggravated robbery charges after his confession to police.

“A little victory, one down and two more to go,” Victim of Robbery and Picantes Supervisor Leticia Palos said. “That’s what my daughter-in-law said this morning, she texted me and goes ‘Mom we got one down and two to go.'”

Palos said they feel some relief knowing one of the suspects is caught. 

“I think he was the one wearing the mask,” Palos said. “But then again I only saw one of them and the cook saw the other one and it happened so fast. But I’m glad he got caught.”

Lubbock County court documents show Villareal’s cooperation with police during his confession that lead to more details in this case. 

Along with surveillance footage from Picantes and neighboring businesses, Villareal’s statements place Joseph Gonzalez Jr. at the scene carrying what police think is a handgun. He added that Phillip Velazquez was also involved by taking cell phones, car keys, and tip money from employees and customers in the building at the time. All while Villareal stayed at the door. 

“The police department, they worked really fast,” Palos said. “They’re really good. I was so surprised and they did a great job to get them caught and help us feel safe.”

Palos said since the robbery, the owner of the restaurant has added new security measures to keep their business safe.

“I would say to our customers, please don’t stop coming,” Palos said. “You’re the one that keeps our doors open and if you don’t come we don’t have jobs so we want you to come out and we’re going to try and keep you safe.”

Records show anonymous tips from Crime Line aided the overall process of this case. Police are still looking for the two suspects and ask anyone with information to call their line at 741-1000. 

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