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2 arrested after Huntington Beach robbery suspect dives into ocean to evade capture

 Police on shore at Bolsa Chica State Beach Saturday, after a robbery suspect tried to evade capture by swimming away.
Huntington Beach Police stand on shore Saturday at Bolsa Chica State Beach, where a robbery suspect attempted to evade capture by swimming away. He was unsuccessful.
(Courtesy of Huntington Beach Police Department)

Huntington Beach police have arrested two men after an alleged armed robbery at a local park Saturday led to a police pursuit that ended with one of the suspects fleeing into the ocean at Bolsa Chica State Beach, officials reported.

The suspects — Oscar Muniga, 24, of Los Angeles, and Angel Uriarte, 31, of Compton — were booked on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime and being felons in possession of a firearm, among other charges, arrest records indicate.

Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Cuchilla said Monday the incident began at around 3 p.m. Saturday at Huntington Beach’s Murdy Park, at 7000 Norma Drive, where the two suspects allegedly robbed a woman of her purse at gunpoint before fleeing in a vehicle.

The victim told officers arriving on scene the suspects had used fear and threatening tactics to acquire her purse, Cuchilla reported. Witnesses to the incident described the getaway vehicle as a black sedan and indicated its path of travel from the park.

Huntington Beach police officers soon after located a vehicle matching witness descriptions, and a brief pursuit ensued. Officers disabled the suspect’s vehicle using a PIT maneuver, stopping the vehicle in the vicinity of Bolsa Chica State Beach.

Muniga reportedly surrendered after the pursuit ended, while Uriarte fled the scene on foot toward the entrance of the beach. Cuchilla said the suspect attempted to evade capture by diving into the ocean and swimming away.

California State Parks personnel responded to the location to assist HBPD officers. Eventually, Uriarte gave up and swam ashore, surrendering to police. He was additionally booked on suspicion of resisting arrest, evading police with wanton disregard for safety and for an outstanding warrant in another jurisdiction.

Officers recovered the victim’s stolen purse and the handgun they believe was used during the robbery. The two suspects were being detained Monday, with Muniga being held on $50,000 bail and Uriarte’s bail set at $110,000, according to an online inmate locater maintained by the sheriff’s department.

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