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Costa Mesa Police Department
Monday August 11th, 2014 :: 11:08 a.m. PDT


Arrests Made for Filing of False Report in Regards to a Car Jacking & Robbery

On Monday August 4, 2014, Mercado was working as the manager of the 7-11 convenience store. At 9:56 a.m. she called the police department reporting that she was the victim of a car-jacking and robbery as she was leaving to go to the bank with the store’s deposit. She claimed a masked suspect, who was armed with a handgun, stole her 2003 Chevrolet Malibu and the $32,000 bank deposit. The vehicle was located, abandoned, on a nearby neighborhood street by responding officers patrolling the area shortly after the reported incident. While Mercado was being interviewed by officers and detectives, they realized there were discrepancies in her story.

As the investigation continued during the week, detectives collected additional evidence and conducted an additional interview with Mercado. It was determined the car-jacking and robbery did not occur, but was staged to cover a conspiracy by Mercado and Jose Zarate-Alvarez to steal the bank deposit from the 7-11 store. Mercado was arrested on 8-7-14 after a follow up interview and Zarate-Alvarez was arrested on 8-9-14 when he turned himself in at CMPD through an attorney. Detectives were able to recover close to $12,000 through the attorney that accompanied Zarate-Alvarez.

Detectives will be seeking charges of Conspiracy, Grand Theft, Commercial Burglary, and Filing a False Police Report against both subjects. 36 year old Nora Cortez Mercado and 37 year old Jose Zarate-Alvarez, both of Santa Ana, were booked with bail set at $20,000 each. CMPD booking photographs of both subjects are attached.

Anyone that may have information about this crime is being requested to contact Detective Mario Garcia at: (714) 754-5363, or Sgt. Ed Everett at: (714) 754-5395.

Additional aspects of the investigation are on-going and as such no other information is available for release at this time.

Costa Mesa Police Department
99 Fair Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 714-754-5252

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