Alleged Bank Robber Confesses To Involvement in San Dimas Quizno’s Murder

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Sheriff’s deputies announced the man accused of gunning down the owner of a small sandwich shop in San Dimas last year is in custody on unrelated crimes.

Sergey Gutsu, 24, was taken into custody by Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies July 12 after he and an accomplice robbed and shot an armored truck driver, taking an undisclosed amount of cash and leading authorities on a pursuit.

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

During a subsequent investigation, Sonoma Sheriff’s detectives with the agency’s Violent Crimes unit interrogated Gutsu and learned of a connection to the murder of San Dimas Quizno’s sandwich shop owner, 62-year-old Pravin Patel.

“Although we cannot divulge specific details of the investigations, we are confident that one or both are responsible for an armored car robbery in Granada Hills and a robbery/homicide in San Dimas,” said Sgt. Cecile Focha of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

The Granada Hills armored truck robbery occurred March 29, 2016, authorities said.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s detectives learned the duo were connected to other crimes across the state, including Gutsu’s possible link to Patel’s murder.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detectives arrived at Santa Rosa July 13 to interview Gutsu who then confessed to being involved in Patel’s murder, according to information provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Nilesh Patel, Pravin’s son, spoke exclusively with GCN and expressed relief that Gutsu is behind bars and not a threat to the community.

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

“While this revives a lot of the horrible memories from the day, I’m happy that guy is in jail. Unfortunately the damage he’s caused us is not repairable. People like that should not be on our streets,” Nilesh said.

Gutsu and Morales are accused of firing upon an armored truck at a Chase Bank in the City of Windsor Tuesday, July 12 at 1:50 p.m. A 9-1-1 caller told authorities two masked men drove up to the armored truck in a car, confronted the guards and started shooting, Focha said.

One guard was hit by gunfire while the two men fled into another vehicle, taking cash with them.

An officer with the Calistoga Police Department located a vehicle matching that driven by the suspects. A pursuit began, during which officers were fired upon. One suspect was eventually taken into custody, while a second briefly eluded police, initiating a manhunt in Calistoga, Focha said.

Gutsu and accomplice, Ivan Morales, 23, have since been arraigned in Sonoma County on attempted murder, armed robbery and conspiracy charges. The duo remain in custody pending further court proceedings, according to the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

A man entered the Quizno’s, 1034 W. Arrow Hwy. in San Dimas Tuesday, June 12, 2015, around 3:20 p.m. and robbed Patel at gunpoint. After the suspect left the restaurant with an undisclosed amount of cash, Patel followed him and tried to detain him. A struggle ensued and Patel was shot right outside the front entrance.

Patel later died at a hospital.

A $20,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of the murder suspect.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives are continuing their investigation into Gutsu’s involvement in Patel’s murder.

Zak Bushey contributed to this story.