Time Runs Out for Parking Structure Robber
A man believed to be responsible for a string of 11 armed robberies of parking booth attendants in City structures in the downtown area was arrested on Sunday night, July 8. He was carrying a knife and tire iron used in two parking booth robberies that night; the proceeds from one of those robberies were found on his person, and he dropped the proceeds from the other as he was being chased.
Juan Carlos Hernandez, age 31, of Los Angeles was arrested on the ground floor of Parking Structure No. 2 at 1235 2nd Street shortly after 11:00 p.m. through the efforts of Santa Monica police undercover officers and uniformed patrol officers. He is being held at the Santa Monica Jail on $50,000 bail. The District Attorney’s office filed charges on Tuesday, July 10, on 10 counts of armed robbery and one count of burglary (the latter regarding an incident in which he took money from the booth when the attendant stepped away).
The Santa Monica Police Department was monitoring the downtown parking structures Sunday night, looking for a suspect in connection with several recent armed robberies of parking booth attendants. As part of the City’s overall safety plan, public video cameras have been placed throughout the downtown public parking structures.
The live video images from one of these public cameras showed the wanted robbery suspect, who was seen walking out of Parking Structure No. 6 at 1451 2nd Street on Sunday night. This information was communicated to patrol officers, and the parking booth attendant was contacted and confirmed that he had just been robbed by a man who used a knife and had taken $20.
A few minutes later, officers patrolling the area on foot saw the suspect in Parking Structure No. 2 walking away from the area of the parking booth. As the officers followed the suspect, he quickly ran down a nearby stairwell. The parking booth attendant in that structure yelled out to the officers that she had just been robbed. This robbery was also captured on the public video camera; the suspect used a tire iron to take $122 from the attendant.
Officers were able to apprehend the suspect after he attempted to use the tire iron against them, and he was positively identified by witnesses. The knife, tire iron and $20 proceeds were recovered from his person; the $122 had been dropped in the chase but was recovered.
Hernandez is believed to be responsible for a string of armed robberies (including the two Sunday night) and a burglary in the parking structures dating back nearly a year to July 23, 2006. In some of these robberies, the suspect was variously armed with a knife, screwdriver, tire iron or handgun.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” said SMPD Lt. Alex Padilla. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call the Santa Monica Police Department at 310.458.8427 (24 hours) or Detectives at 310.458.8451 (M-F 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call the WeTip hotline at 800.78.CRIME (72463).