Violent Hollister man arrested after crime spree in Gilroy

Robert Ells

A Hollister man was arrested in Gilroy on Oct. 17 for attempted murder, two counts of attempted carjacking, armed robbery, kidnapping, burglary and terrorist threats. 

Robert James Ells, 40, was arrested at 4:30 p.m. on the corner of Muir and Ousley drives after an attempted burglary. His description matched that of the same man who was responsible for a flurry of violent crimes in Gilroy over the past 24 hours. 

Starting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 16, the Gilroy Police Department responded to an armed robbery at the Chevron gas station on the 7100 block of Camino Arroyo. 

Ells, according to the store clerk, had pulled out a “toy” weapon and demanded cigarettes and gas. He took the cigarettes and fled, leaving his vehicle behind. 

Police checked the vehicle and learned that it was stolen out of Hollister. 

Just 25 minutes later, Ells was allegedly at it again: A victim called police from the 6700 block of Camino Arroyo to report that a man (who matched Ells’ description) had attempted to carjack the victim by whipping out a flare gun. The victim said Ells fired a flare at him, but was unsuccessful at stealing the car. 

Then, at 9:50 a.m. on Thursday, an in-progress burglary was reported at the 8900 block of Calle Del Rey. The victim reported that someone had broken into their home and brandished a flare gun. The suspect demanded the victim’s car, but left without it. 

During this time, two nearby schools were put in lockdown, according to the police report. Police found Ells a few blocks away and arrested him after he was identified by the victim. Police also found a flare gun on him.

Ells may also be linked to similar crimes in Hollister and Salinas. He was taken into custody at Santa Clara County Jail.

The case is actively being investigated by Gilroy detectives in conjunction with the San Benito Sheriff’s Department and the Salinas Police Department.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Gilroy Police Detective Michael Bolton at (408) 846-0350. Parties wishing to remain anonymous may call We-Tip at 1-800-782-7463 (1-800-78-CRIME).

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