Police arrested a Los Angeles man in connection with a spate of three armed robberies at Pasadena businesses within a span of about 45 minutes on Monday night, authorities said.
Justin Angel Garcia, 21, was arrested in connection with the crimes, which took place between about 8:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., according to Pasadena police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The first heist took place about 8:30 p.m. at Ralphs grocery store, 320 W. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena police Lt. Sean Dawkins said.
The gunman held a cashier at gunpoint and demanded money from a register before fleeing with an indeterminate amount of cash, he said.
The robber showed up about 15 minutes later at the CVS Pharmacy at 727 S. Arroyo Parkway, according to the lieutenant. He ordered an employee at gunpoint to empty two cash registers, then also demanded the victim’s wallet and cell phone before fleeing.
Witnesses reported to police that the robber had fled in a white pickup truck, Dawkins said.
As the investigation continued, a third robbery took place just after 9:10 p.m. at a nearby Pizza Hut restaurant at 777 S. Arroyo Parkway, he said.
While robbing the store’s register, a delivery driver arrived at the business, Dawkins said. The gunman demanded the driver’s wallet and cell phone, in addition to money from the register, before fleeing. Witnesses reported seeing the suspect getting onto the 110 Freeway in a white pickup truck.
A Pasadena police helicopter spotted a truck matching the description on the southbound freeway and followed it as it headed into L.A., according to Dawkins.
LAPD officers pulled over the truck and detained the driver, later identified as Garcia, without a struggle, he said. Evidence linking Garcia to the robberies was recovered.
In addition to the three Pasadena robberies he was accused of, LAPD investigators were also investigating Garcia’s possible involvement in two more robberies in their jurisdiction, Dawkins added.
According to booking records, bail for Garcia was set at $200,000 pending his initial appearance in L.A. County Superior Court.