A federal grand jury indicted two men and a woman from Moreno Valley on Friday for their alleged roles in a series of armed robberies last year at AutoZone stores throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties, authorities said.
Daeon Raishawn Cox, 20, Dashon Raymond White, 24, and Jada Shardae William, 18, all of Moreno Valley, were named in the 13-count indictment, U.S. Department of Justice spokeman Ciaran McEvoy said in a written statement.
The indictment alleges the trio used guns including an AR-15-style rifle to carry out at least eight robberies at AutoZone stores in Riverside, San Bernardino, Fontana, Redlands, Hemet and Grand Terrace.
Detectives are looking into the suspects’ possible ties to at least five additional AutoZone robberies, Riverside Police Department officials said shortly after their arrests in December.
The eight federally charged crimes took place over a three-month period last year, officials said.
“Typically, the robbers entered the AutoZone stores at night, wearing black hoodies, black pants, gloves and with their faces covered by bandanas,” Ciaran said. “The robbers allegedly pointed guns at AutoZone employees and forced them to hand over money from the cash register or from the store safe.”
More than $11,000 was stolen in the heists, according to McEvoy.
Cox is alleged to have been involved in all of the robberies. White, Allen and an underage boy who is not named in the indictment alternately took part in the robberies, prosecutors said.
The string of crimes came to an end on Dec. 12, when the suspects showed up at a Fontana AutoZone store, which police had been watching due to the ongoing series of robberies targeting the auto parts retailer chain, Riverside police said in written statement.
“Cox and White allegedly approached the AutoZone wearing black hooded sweatshirts and masks on their faces, while Cox carried an AR-15-type rifle and handed it to White,” Ciaran said. “After the police officer identified himself, the defendants fled the scene, driving away in White’s SUV at a high rate of speed.”
The SUV led police on a chase, with Allen seated in the back of the SUV, he added.
The suspects tossed a loaded AR-15 out of the vehicle before they abandoned their car and ran in Rancho Cucamonga, according to police and federal prosecutors. The rifle, along with a pistol, was ultimately recovered.
Police found Cox hiding in a trashcan and took him into custody immediately following the chase, McEvoy said. White, Allen and the juvenile suspect were found and arrested the next day.
All three adult defendants face a federal charge of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, officials said.
Cox faces six additional counts of interfering with commerce by robbery and six counts of using a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.
White is charged with two robbery charges and two firearm-related charges, McEvoy said. Allen was named in one robbery count and one gun-related count.
Cox and White, who are currently housed in local jails, are expected to be remanded to federal custody on Monday, officials said. Allen was free on a $40,000 bond and scheduled to appear in court on March 13.
If convicted as charged, the suspects could each face up to 20 years in federal prison for each robbery-related count, and seven years in prison for each firearm-related count.