SANTA ANA – Two suspects remained in custody Saturday in a spree of 7-Eleven robberies across Southern California in which two people were killed and three others injured — and authorities say at least one of the men may be tied to a killing in Los Angeles two days earlier.
Malike Patt, 20, and Jason Payne, 44, both of Los Angeles, were arrested at about 1:10 p.m. Friday in the 1900 block of West 23rd Street in Los Angeles, authorities said at a news conference in Santa Ana. Patt is considered the main suspect seen in widely circulated surveillance video photos from some of the robberies.
Patt was being held in the Santa Ana jail and Payne was taken to a Los Angeles-area hospital to be treated for minor injuries sustained while being arrested, Santa Ana Police Chief David Valentin said.
The arrests were carried out by the ATF Orange County Violent Crime Task Force, according to Santa Ana police.
In addition to the convenience store heists in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties, Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department said the July 9 slaying of an unidentified transient in the 16100 block of Parthenia Street in the North Hills area is believed to be tied to at least one of the suspects. The killing occurred about 200 yards away from a 7-Eleven store that was robbed that day.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said he planned on filing murder charges next week stemming from shootings that occurred during the robbery spree in Brea and Santa Ana on Monday. He said Patt will be charged in a way that will lead to no bail.
Spitzer said any trial will be held in one county for all of the alleged crimes. He said he would discuss the best way to handle it with fellow top prosecutors in Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
The 7-Eleven company this week offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in the robberies and killings. It was unclear if anyone will be eligible to claim the reward.
“We are grateful that the Orange County District Attorney has announced local law enforcement has apprehended suspects related to the recent violent incidents. We will continue to fully support law enforcement with their investigation,” a company statement said.
The rash of violence — carried out on July 11, or 7-11 — prompted the 7-Eleven corporation to recommend that Los Angeles-area stores temporarily close their doors Monday night and again on Tuesday night, and some stores also appeared to be close early on Wednesday.
The company did not say whether further security measures would be put in place.
Based on surveillance images, police said they were able to link the same suspect to all of the heists.
The LAPD announced Tuesday afternoon that detectives were investigating a similar string of robberies at two convenience stores and two doughnut shops within the LAPD’s Devonshire Division in the San Fernando Valley, which occurred between 3:55 and 5:30 a.m. July 9. That string included the 7-Eleven store that was robbed near the location of the fatal shooting that Hamilton said was linked to the other convenience store crimes.
Hamilton said Friday that investigators believe “a number of crimes” in the Los Angeles area will eventually be linked to the suspect in the July 9 fatal shooting.