Police arrested a Barstow man Tuesday who’s accused of robbing and pistol-whipping of two acquaintances last week, then setting fire to a business where the victims worked, authorities said.
Hugo Wilfredo Portillo, 41, was booked on suspicion of robbery, attempted murder, making criminal threats and arson, according to Irwindale Police Department Sgt. Rudy Gatto and Los Angeles County booking records.
The alleged crimes took place at a truck yard in the 200 block of Live Oak Avenue, according to Gatto. The two victims worked at the truck yard, and Portillo had conducted business with the company in the past, but had some sort of falling out.
“Officers learned that two victims had been confronted by a suspect who was armed with a handgun and robbed of gasoline,” police said in a written statement. “During the incident, the suspect attacked one of the victims, hitting, kicking and threatening him. The suspect also ‘pistol-whipped’ the victim with the handgun.”
A shot was fired at one point, but no one was struck, Gatto said.
Portillo then got into a 2002 Honda Accord and sped off following the attack, the sergeant said. Stolen was a “small amount” of gasoline.
Later that night, a patrol officer drove by and noticed a trailer used as an office by the truck yard was on fire, Gatto said. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames and determined the fire had been intentionally set.
The victims of the robbery and attack did not report the incident until the next day out of fear, Gatto said.
Detectives identified Portillo as the suspect in both the violent robbery and the arson, police said.
Investigators obtained an arrest warrant, which was served at Portillo’s home by the Barstow Police Department on Tuesday, Gatto said. He was taken into custody without a struggle, and several items of evidence were seized.
Bail for Portillo was set at $2 million pending his initial appearance in Los Angeles County Superior Court, scheduled for Tuesday, records show.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Irwindale Police Department Detective Diego Cornejo at 626-430-2290. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.