AVONDALE, Ariz. -- A man believed to be the ringleader of the "zip tie" robbery bandits and gas can robberies several years ago shot and killed himself during a police chase.
Police said they were chasing Marco Antonio Villarino, 29, through Avondale, Tuesday night
When they tried to pull him over, he reportedly pulled a gun, shooting and killing himself, officers said.
Villarino was also wanted in connection with an out-of-state murder investigation, according to police.
Mesa police Detective Chris Arvayo said Villarino is suspected of being the ringleader in a number of check-cashing store robberies in 2004 and 2005 where the robbers had gas cans and threatened to set clerks on fire if they didn't comply.
He's also a suspect in four grocery store robberies this year where the victims were tied up with zip-ties.
In November, a Maricopa County Grand Jury handed up a 36-count indictment against five of six men arrested and accused of being the "zip tie" robbers.
The robbers tied up an 11-year-old girl at one store and fired shots and beat the store owner during another robbery, according to police.
Police said the robbers were highly organized; each had an assignment in the heists.
The men conducted their own surveillance and made minor purchases at the stores prior to robbing them. The men never wore masks or hid themselves.
All of the robberies were committed during the day on Fridays or Saturdays when there was more money available, according to police.