Fight ensues, money stolen after gang members crash soldier’s house party

AMEERA BUTT (Merced Sun-Star) | March 28, 2011

HILMAR — Four gang members were arrested Sunday morning after they crashed a going away party for a man who is joining the military.

Merced sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene, where more than 30 people were involved in a fight at the Hilmar Grange Hall in the 8000 block of Lander Avenue.

Lynn Thayer, 19, Mario Ortega, 18, Jesse Armenta, 19, and a 17-year-old male juvenile crashed the party, and were arrested and booked on charges of armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and being involved in a criminal street gang, according to a Merced County Sheriff’s Department press release.

During the fight, the gang members, from Delhi, Hilmar and Turlock, took two cash boxes holding an undetermined amount of money donated for the soldier.

The money was recovered, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff’s spokesman.

According to officials, several males and females were assaulted during the fight, and two were taken to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock with unknown injuries.

The three men remain in jail on $100,000 bail each, MacKenzie said.

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