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Central District of California | North Hollywood man charged in federal complaint alleging rash of armed robberies against a dozen Southern California businesses

Central District of California |  North Hollywood man charged in federal complaint alleging rash of armed robberies against a dozen Southern California businesses


ANGELS A San Fernando Valley man has been charged in a federal criminal complaint with attempted armed robbery of a Downey business, an attack in which a store employee pulled out a gun and opened fire as part of a series of armed robberies at other businesses in Los Angeles. and Orange during a two-week crime wave earlier this year, the Justice Department announced today.

Antonio Bland, 34, of North Hollywood, is charged in a criminal complaint with Attempted Interference with Commerce by Theft (Hobbs Act). Bland, who was in state custody until earlier this week, made his first appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles and was sentenced to prison without parole. bail. His arraignment is scheduled for June 10.

Complaints have also been filed against two other alleged accomplices, who also face attempted theft charges under the Hobbs Act:

  • Ronnie Tucker, 22, of Long Beach, expected to be transferred to federal custody in the coming weeks.
  • Abigail Luckey, 49, of North Hollywood, who was the alleged driver in the Feb. 14 Downey Donut Shop robbery. She was released on bond in state court, but has not appeared since then and is considered a fugitive.

According to an affidavit filed May 13 with the complaints, from January 29 to February 14, Bland and his accomplices are suspected of armed robberies at 11 other businesses: a tobacco store in Tustin, nine 7-Eleven stores in North Hollywood, Burbank, Torrance. , Van Nuys, Long Beach, Glendale, Pasadena and a donut shop in Los Angeles.

We have seen too many violent gun crimes in our community and it must stop, said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada. This is exactly what our Operation Safe Cities initiative aims to achieve. Violent criminals must consider that federal and local partners are working together more than ever to ensure that those who engage in gun crimes face consequences.

Mr. Bland and others made it their mission to violently rob employees of small businesses in and around Los Angeles, said Krysti Hawkins, the acting assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office. The FBI is committed to working with our local partners to pursue the most violent criminals wreaking havoc in our communities. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of fugitive Abigail Luckey is asked to contact the FBI.

“We appreciate the ongoing partnership with the United States Attorney's Office, which will go a long way toward holding these individuals accountable for their alleged violent actions against our community,” said Burbank Police Chief Michael Albanese.

These commercial robberies typically occurred late at night and typically involved two men entering each business wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks. In several of the robberies, a fleeing driver waited outside for the subjects to complete the robbery and fled the scene in a white four-door sedan when the subjects returned to the vehicle.

The spree ended after Bland, along with two other individuals, committed an attempted armed robbery at a donut shop in Downey in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, the affidavit states.

Once the subjects entered the donut shop, one of them shouted: Open the cash register! The employee noticed that one of the subjects, believed to be Bland, had what appeared to be a handgun tucked into his front waistband with the handle visible. Fearing that the subjects would harm him, the employee ran to the back kitchen behind the main sales counter. The subjects jumped off the counter to chase him. The employee retrieved his own firearm to defend himself. To dissuade the suspects from attacking him, he fired at least one shot, hitting a wall of the building.

After the employee was fired, the individuals ran from the store.

Law enforcement witnessed the attempted robbery and, a short time later, stopped a car containing Bland and two other individuals and recovered a firearm from the vehicle.

A complaint is only an allegation, and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If convicted, Bland and the other defendants would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Operation Safe Cities establishes strategic law enforcement priorities with a focus on prosecuting key drivers of violent crime. In this region, the most damaging and horrific crimes are committed by a relatively small number of particularly violent individuals. This strategic approach to law enforcement is expected to increase the number of arrests, prosecutions and convictions of repeat offenders engaged in the most dangerous behaviors. It is designed to improve public safety throughout the region by targeting crimes involving illicit weapons, possession of firearms by prohibited persons or robbery crews that cause havoc and significant losses at sales establishments by retail.

The FBI and Burbank Police Department are investigating with assistance from police departments in Tustin, Torrance, Long Beach, Glendale, Pasadena, Los Angeles and Downey.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jme K. Forrest of the Violent and Organized Crimes Section and Diane Roldn of the General Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.




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