Officers arrested a man suspected of being behind a series of armed robberies in Santa Ana — targeting two video game stores and two gas stations — before arresting a woman suspected of being his getaway driver, police said Tuesday.
Fernando Velasquez is accused of committing four armed robberies spanning from last Wednesday until this past Sunday, with Lizeth Carrillo believed to be the getaway driver for the crimes, according to police. Investigators believe the pair could have committed other robberies in the Orange County area.
Velasquez was arrested in the 400 block of Maple Street about 10 p.m. on Monday while Carrillo was taken into custody about 6:30 a.m. the following morning. Both are residents of Santa Ana.
The first of the robberies happened about 9:10 p.m. on Wednesday, when the suspect entered a GameStop store located at 1030 South Main Street and simulated having a weapon before leaving with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to police.
The pair targeted another GameStop store — this time, one located at 2860 South Bristol Street — the following night around 8:45 p.m., police said. Again, the suspect simulated having a weapon before leaving the store with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Four days later, on Sunday, the suspect entered the Shell gas station located 2641 North Bristol Street, police said. But this time, the suspect brandished a black handgun before leaving with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to police.
Surveillance video of that robbery, released by Santa Ana police on Youtube, shows the suspect walk into the gas station wearing all black. He is seen talking to the cashier as he starts to pull the hood of his sweatshirt over his head before tossing something onto the counter. The cashier picks up the item as the suspect continues talking.
A moment later, the cashier hands over what appears to be a clear plastic bag filled with bundles of cash and then the suspect walks out of the store.
Just half an hour later that same night, the suspect entered the USA Gasoline station located at 2730 West McFadden Avenue and again brandished a black handgun before leaving with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to police.
The police officers who arrested Velasquez had been told by detectives that he was suspected in the robbery spree. Once Velasquez was in custody, detectives were called in to take over the investigation.
After that, the investigators determined Carrillo had acted as the getaway driver and she was arrested Tuesday morning, according to police.
Anyone with information can contact Detective Prewett at 714-245-8323 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-847-6227.