A man suspected in a series of at least seven robberies at gas stations and fast food restaurants across Orange County was arrested in Gardena on Tuesday, officials said.
Los Angeles resident Emanuel Demar Banks, 38, was identified as the suspect and taken into custody by Irvine police, who began investigating the case following a robbery in their jurisdiction on Sunday, the agency said in a news release.
After searching his hotel room, officers found evidence related to the robbery series that occurred over the weekend and Monday, police said.
Along with Irvine, businesses were targeted in Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Westminster.
On Sunday, a string of incidents began in Irvine, where a suspect entered the Chevron gas station at 5425 Alton Parkway around 7:40 p.m. and approached the cashier with an item. But instead of paying, the man brandished a gun and demanded money from the clerk, fleeing with about $100 in cash, officials said.
A little less than an hour later, around 8:30 p.m., a man went into the McDonald's at 2452 Bryan Ave. in Tustin and ordered food. Once the cash drawer was open, the suspect brandished a silver handgun and demanded cash, then fled on foot once he had it, according to Tustin Police Lt. Bob Wright.
Then around 10 p.m., an employee at the Carl's Jr. at 9022 Adams Ave. in Huntington Beach called police to report a robbery that had just occurred in the same manner as the previous two, Huntington Beach Police Officer Angela Bennett said.
Following that, around 10:35 p.m., a suspect also began a transaction at the Arco station on the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Gisler Avenue in Costa Mesa before producing a handgun, taking money from the register and fleeing on foot. Officers set up a perimeter and searched the area, but were unable to find the man, authorities said.
Officials in Westminster were shocked when another similar robbery occurred at the Shell station at Magnolia Street and Bolsa Avenue the following day at about 1:30 p.m.
"Usually a robbery of this nature will happen at nighttime," Westminster Police Cmdr. Cameron Knauerhaze told KTLA. "It's unusual — and I've got to say a little unsettling — to have one in broad daylight in such a busy area like Little Saigon, where there's so many people and it's heavy traffic."
In each instance, the suspect simply produced a handgun, demanded money and left once he had it in hand.
It's unclear when and where the incidents in Santa Ana and Garden Grove occurred.
Inmate records showed Banks was being held without bail and scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
Detectives are continuing to investigate the case.