Suspected 'Ice Breaker Bandits' arrested in Phoenix


by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Jason Volentine

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 7 at 1:54 PM

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PHOENIX -- Police have arrested two men accused of committing 20 armed robberies at fast food restaurants and convenience stores across four states in 10 days.

Police labeled the robbers the "Ice Breaker Bandits" because they would engage employees in small talk prior to the actual robbery, thus "breaking the ice.”

The suspects, 34-year-old Jeromy Lewis Neal and 20-year-old Amador Angel Cuebas began their crime spree when they left Rockport, Texas on Sept. 19.

Investigators say in the 10 days that followed the men robbed businesses in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Phoenix.

Seven of the robberies occurred in Phoenix, according to police.

Police say Neal would enter the businesses armed with a gun and demand money from employees. Cuebas acted as the getaway driver.

Phoenix police began an investigation after the first armed robbery in Phoenix on Sept. 24.

During the course of the investigation, a patrol officer on routine patrol observed the suspects’ vehicle near 32nd Street and Thomas Road.

The officer did a check on the license plate after witnessing suspicious activity. The patrol officer recognized the vehicle as one believed to be involved in these robberies.

At that point police were able to identify the suspects.

On Sept. 29, police said the suspects were involved in another armed robbery in the area of 4200 West Cactus Road. Officers located the vehicle and suspects as they fled the area.

Once in custody, the suspects were linked to the other armed robberies.

Detectives are looking into the possibility the suspects were involved in additional robberies in other states while they were traveling to the Phoenix area.