Suspects who took officer’s gun during robbery arrested

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DENVER – Denver Police announced Friday the arrests of two suspects wanted for robbery, assaulting a police officer and then taking off with her gun.

Police arrested Nicholas Zentz, 25, shortly after the robbery at the pharmacy inside Walgreens at Green Valley Ranch Blvd. and Tower Rd. Thursday afternoon.

Officers arrested Joseph Farina, 56, in Broomfield early Friday.

An off-duty police officer found herself in the middle of the robbery while shopping at Walgreens. Sgt. Virginia Quinones is a 22-year veteran of the Denver Police Department.

She took action and tried to stop the two men after investigators say they jumped over the pharmacy counter late Thursday afternoon. The two robbers got away, and they even took the officer’s gun during the confrontation.

It happened while Quinones was waiting to get a prescription filled.

Dozens of officers responded when the emergency call came that one of their own was caught in the middle of a robbery in progress.

“The officer jumped over the counter, she pulled the weapon and confronted the men. One of the men then attacked the officer,” says Denver Police spokesman Lt. Matt Murray.

Investigators say she was off-duty but did identify herself. “The officer fired her weapon, it did not strike anybody. It did strike in the store.”

The drug store was filled with people. Murray credits the off-duty officer with saving lives.

Investigators have not released descriptions of the suspects or surveillance video yet. But they are relying on witnesses for information that will lead them to the robbers.

“The suspect (Farina) during the struggle was able to take her gun,” Murray says. “He ran across the street to Green Valley Ranch Blvd. and carjacked a second vehicle in the Grease Monkey there and fled the scene. The other suspect fled the scene in another car.”

Police aren’t sure if the suspects were trying to steal drugs or money, but confidence is high that they’ll be found.

The officer was injured in the scuffle, but she’s expected to be okay.

Police are not releasing the suspects’ photographs due to pending photo line ups and the possibility that they are wanted for crimes in other places in metro Denver.

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