Two plead not guilty in armed robbery

Two suspects charged in an armed robbery at the Marshall Town Center have pleaded not guilty.

Andrew X. Ramirez, 22, is charged with first-degree robbery, going armed with intent and possession of a firearm. Ramirez has pleaded not guilty and a jury trial has been set for Dec. 12.

Frances T. Gasca, 23, is charged with identity theft, forgery, unauthorized use of a credit card and ongoing criminal conduct. She also pleaded not guilty. A trial is set for Nov. 19 in her case.

A woman said two men stole her purse at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Marshall Town Center on Sept. 25.

According to court records, the victim’s debit card was used in Marshalltown as well as several stores at Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines following the robbery. Through surveillance videos police developed suspect and vehicle descriptions.

Ramirez and Gasca were arrested on Sept. 26 in connection with the robbery.

Gasca confessed to using the stolen credit cards and said Ramirez told her he had robbed a woman at the mall and took her purse, according to court records.

Police conducted a search warrant at their home, 305 W. Linn St., where they found a black handgun and the victim’s purse hidden in the same area of the home. Police said Ramirez is a convicted felon from a prior arrest in California.

Jose E. Morales, 18, of Marshalltown, was taken into custody as a material witness Oct. 16. He remains in custody.

“All the information indicates we have the subjects involved in custody,” said Capt. Chris Jones, of the Marshalltown Police Department.