Man admits to faking having a gun to rob two stores

A 22-year-old man was arrested on Valentine’s Day in connection to robberies at two stores in Santa Cruz, police said Wednesday.

Santa Cruz resident Antonio Neal Townsend allegedly attempted to rob a market in the 2000 block of Soquel Avenue around 10:25 a.m.

At 11:40 a.m., Townsend is suspected of robbing a convenience store in the 300 block of Ocean Street.

In both incidents, the suspect passed a note to the cashier claiming to have a gun, police said.

After a search resulting in his arrest, Townsend confessed in an interview with detectives that he faked having a gun during the robberies.

Townsend was booked into jail on suspicion of attempted robbery, robbery and an outstanding felony warrant.