More than three weeks after an arrest was made in the July pistol-whipping and robbery of an Asian-American couple in Rowland Heights, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Tuesday that three men have been charged for that incident and “a series of of daytime robberies over the past five months.”
In addition to 21-year-old Demoryie Watts, who was arrested Aug. 12, Deangelo Thomas, 25, and Eric Burham, 21, face charges, Gascón announced in a press release.
Watts was charged with six counts of second-degree robbery and a count of elder abuse, Thomas faces 12 counts of second-degree robbery and three counts of elder abuse, and Burham faces one count of second-degree robbery.
Thomas and Watts, the two suspected of attacking the 64-year-old man and 51-year-old woman in the Rowland Heights grocery store parking lot, also face special allegations of using a firearm.
The July robbery of a Rolex watch in the parking lot of a 99 Ranch Market store left the male victim with serious injuries and disturbed many in the area who believed that the attack might have been racially motivated.
Gascón directly addressed those concerns, noting that the “victims had their sense of safety shattered.”
“These brazen crimes – all of which occurred during the day – are deeply troubling …The majority of the people victimized were from the Asian American Community and I know that this has caused significant community trauma,” Gascón said. “I hope that all of those who have been impacted by this spree of violence sleep better tonight knowing that those who caused harm will be held accountable.”
L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the area, issued a statement expressing support for the victims and the impacted communities.
“The trauma that was inflicted on the survivors was witnessed by many and will take time to recover and heal. The arrest and the charging of these individuals is part of the path toward justice and resolution of the trauma experienced by the survivors of these robberies,” she said.
That “spree of violence” spanned multiple counties and resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of dollars in property, Gascón said. They include:
- The April robbery of a Rolex, jewelry and cash from a 40-year-old man in the 500 block of Glendale Avenue in Glendale. Thomas is the suspected robber in this incident.
- Three May 9 robberies that took place in a two-hour span in Rosemead, La Puente and Temple City. A Rolex, designer purse and cash were taken by Thomas, the District Attorney’s Office said.
- A May 11 robbery involving all three men, who are accused of robbing a 31-year-old man and 35-year-old woman of various items and cash in Glendale.
- A mid-May robbery of $10,000 from two people in Fullerton by Thomas.
- Two June robberies in Temple City by Thomas and Watts, including one that resulted in the theft of $14,000.
Watts is being held without bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. He was due to appear in Pomona Municipal Court Tuesday morning.
Jail information was not available for Thomas and Burham.