A suspect has been apprehended in the nighttime thefts in the San Gabriel Valley that targeted women as they pulled into their driveways.
"Jose Avila, 29, has been linked to at least 15 robberies reported in Alhambra, San Gabriel, South Pasadena, and Monterey Park in recent weeks," Monterey Park police told KTLA.
Monterey Park police Capt. Gene Harris told the Pasadena Star-News that members of a task force from San Gabriel Valley cities were patrolling near 6th Street and Valley Boulevard in Alhambra on Wednesday night when a car was identified matching the description of the suspect's vehicle.
"Investigators stopped and searched the car after discovering that the driver, later identified as Avila, was on parole for home-invasion robbery," the Star-News reported. "Harris said they found a gun, clothing and other evidence that implicated Avila inside the car. The gun was described as a toy or replica, possibly an "airsoft" gun, which shoots BBs."
A robber that has committed a string of nighttime thefts in the San Gabriel Valley, targeting women as they pulled into their driveways appears to have struck again Wednesday night. At around 10pm a Rosemead woman entered her driveway when a man demanded her purse and fired an airsoft gun at her daughter.
The incident took place on South Gladys Avenue between Valley Boulevard and Marshall Street. Diana Lui, 24, was in her home when she heard her mother pulling into the driveway and went to the backdoor to greet her. Hearing a cry of surprise, Lui darted out the door and found her mother trying to close the gate on an intruder who was forcing his way into the driveway. The intruder, upon seeing Lui, fired an airsoft gun at her, hitting her three times. Believing it was an actual gun, Lui dropped to the ground. Lui’s mother handed over her purse and the intruder left on foot, running southbound on Gladys Avenue.
According to investigators, another instance of robbery happened two hours later on the 600 block of East Central Avenue, just a few blocks from Lui’s house.
Police believe that both cases are tied to the same perpetrator who has been committing late night robberies since mid-March, targeting women who are pulling into their driveways. As of last week, he has struck the Alhambra area six times. He would approach the victims, brandish a gun, and demand them to give up their wallets or purses. The robber is described as being Hispanic, 6-0 and 200 lbs. Some victims reported seeing an accomplice driving a dark-colored SUV.
According to Lui, her mother did not see a get-away car after the robber had left, nor did she suspect she had been followed home by another vehicle.
“He was just hiding in a dark area. He came out of a corner somewhere,” said Lui. “We have sensor lights outside, but they don’t cover all the spots.”
According to Sergeant Brian Kott of the San Gabriel Police Department, there have been two instances in which the perpetrator fired off his BB gun, including the incident at Lui’s house.