LOS ANGELES – Two men were charged Tuesday in a series of daytime robberies that allegedly targeted victims with expensive watches, jewelry and cash — primarily in the San Gabriel Valley and Glendale.
Dangelo Thomas, 25, and Demoryie Watts, 21, are set to be arraigned Thursday in a Pomona courtroom on robbery and elder abuse charges stemming from a series of crimes, including an alleged attack July 9 that was caught on video of a 64-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman in the parking lot of a 99 Ranch Market in the Rowland Heights area.
“These were brazen robberies — all of which occurred during the day and they’re very troubling to all of us,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said at a news conference announcing the case. “The victims in these cases were targeted because they were wearing expensive jewelry, carrying designer items and … large amounts of cash.”
The district attorney noted that the male victim in the Rowland Heights attack was pistol-whipped and injured as he and the woman loaded items into their vehicle outside the store.
The suspects, both armed, attacked the pair and took the man’s Rolex watch before fleeing the scene in a white Dodge Challenger with paper plates, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported, with Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis subsequently saying the watch was valued at $60,000.
Similar crimes allegedly involving one or both of the defendants occurred in Glendale, Rosemead, La Puente, Temple City and Fullerton, in which items including Rolex watches, jewelry, a designer purse and cash were taken, according to Gascón.
The majority of the alleged victims are from the Asian-American community, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Thomas is charged with 12 counts of second-degree robbery and three counts of elder abuse stemming from the alleged crime spree, while Watts is charged with six counts of second-degree robbery and one count of elder abuse, according to the District Attorney’s Office. The two — who were arrested last month — are also facing firearm use allegations.
A third man, Eric Burham, 21, is facing one count of second-degree robbery involving an alleged May 11 attack with Thomas and Watts on a 35-year- old woman and a 31-year-old man in Glendale, in which cash and various items were taken, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Gascón said there is an “ongoing investigation” into the alleged crime spree, noting that “a lot of work is still pending” and that there may be additional charges filed in the future.
Shortly after the Rowland Heights-area attack, Solis sponsored a $15,000 reward to “bring the perpetrators of this offense to justice.”
In a statement Tuesday, Solis thanked Gascón’s office for pursuing the charges.
“The trauma that was inflicted on the survivors was witnessed by many and will take time to recover and heal,” Solis said. “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.”