Medford police arrested two men suspected of robbing Mexican markets and terrorizing clerks Monday in Medford.

Medford police arrested two men suspected of robbing Mexican markets and terrorizing clerks Monday in Medford.

Police arrested Edgar Manuel Donis-Hernandez, 31, of Medford, and Carlos Elfego Ochaeta Donis, 21, no address listed, just after midnight.

"We were just a step behind these guys all night and were finally lucky enough to cross paths with them," Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said.

Budreau said evidence from robberies at Bienna E Los Pinos, a clothing store on Crater Lake Avenue and Novedades La Mexicana, an imports and novelty store on West Main Street, pointed police to the pair.

Donis-Hernandez was charged with first-degree robbery, third-degree assault, and two counts each of second-degree robbery and first-degree theft.

He was also charged with first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse, linked with forcing a victim to engage in sexual acts during one of the robberies.

He also is suspected of being in the country illegally and is jailed without bail.

Donis was charged with first-degree robbery, third-degree assault, and two counts each of second-degree robbery and first-degree theft. He also is suspected of being in the country illegally and is jailed without bail.

"It was very disturbing. They really terrorized the victims," Budreau said, noting that the sexual assault was an unusual way for a robber to demonstrate complete control over a victim.

The robbery of Bienna E Los Pinos, 524 Crater Lake Ave., was reported at about 4:25 p.m. Monday. Two men assaulted a woman working there, displayed a knife and demanded money.

They fled with an undisclosed amount of cash and merchandise from the store and were last seen driving north on Crater Lake Avenue in a white sedan, police said.

About three hours later, two men robbed Novedades La Mexicana, 2138 W. Main St., pointing what appeared to be a handgun at a clerk and firing a BB at him. The robbers demanded money and jewelry, took it and left. They were last seen walking eastbound on West Main, but a green vehicle, possibly a small SUV, was suspected of being involved in the crime, too, police said.

Budreau said investigators had evidence pointing to the robbers' identity and their associates after the Los Pinos robbery. Combined with surveillance camera footage from the West Main shop and statements from acquaintances, detectives identified the robbers and set off looking for them.

Investigators visited homes of the suspects' friends and relatives, and finally spotted the pair in a 1995 Saturn sedan on Taylor Road in Central Point.

Central Point police helped Medford officers stop the car at about 12:30 a.m. Donis and Donis-Hernandez were taken into custody without incident, and police recovered most of the property stolen from the businesses. Budreau said the pair had switched vehicles several times during the evening.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or aburke@mailtribune.com