Three men and a juvenile have been arrested in connection with robbing more than a dozen AutoZone stores across California in San Bernardino and Riverside counties at gunpoint, police announced Friday.
The crime spree started with two masked gunmen entering an AutoZone in San Jacinto on December 21, holding an employee with an AR-15 style rifle while cash was stolen from the store, according to police. The suspects were all taken into custody following a police chase.
They have been identified as 19-year-old Daeon Raishawn Cox and 24-year-old Dashon Raymond White of Moreno Valley and 18-year-old Jada Shardae Allen of Perris. The fourth suspect’s identity has not been released since he’s underage.
More than 30 AutoZones across San Bernardino and Riverside counties were robbed the same way in the months after, with robbers holding employees at gunpoint in every instance, Riverside Police Sgt. Trinidad Lomeli said.
He said police have connected the four suspects to at least 17 of those robberies so far.
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In at least one of the robberies, a store manager was held at gunpoint and taken to the back of the store to open the safe, Lomeli said.
Stores in the cities of Grand Terrace, Riverside, Menifee, Jurupa Valley, Perris, Hemet, San Bernardino and Redlands were all targeted, police said. Riverside faced the most robberies, with a total of eight.
The suspects were captured when Fontana police and other investigators were doing surveillance on AutoZone stores within the city.
Law enforcement officials stopped the suspects just as they were trying to rob an AutoZone located on Baseline Avenue in Fontana.
From there, the suspects took off in a vehicle and led officers on a chase — at one point throwing a loaded AR-15 rifle from the vehicle that was later recovered, according to police. The pursuit ended in Rancho Cucamonga.