Update: Suspects are now in custody.
October 30, 2012 (San Diego) -- San Diego Police Department Robbery Unit detectives, in cooperation with detectives from the Escondido Police Department, are investigating a series of armed robberies and a carjacking that occurred throughout the county yesterday in the College Grove, Escondido and Mission Valley areas, as well as burned vehicles used in the crimes that were found in College Grove and Chula Vista.
On October 29, 2012, just before 9:00 a.m., the suspect walked up to a male in a parking lot at 8900 Rio San Diego Drive in Mission Valley East. The suspect, wearing a jacket with “POLICE” on the chest, approached the victim as he was removing items from the trunk of his vehicle. The suspect pointed a handgun at the victim and demanded his money and wallet. The suspect got into a white, full-sized vehicle and was last seen westbound on Rio San Diego Drive.
Just before 12:30 p.m., an off-duty San Diego Police officer was robbed at gunpoint after using an ATM at 1600 S. Escondido Boulevard in Escondido. During the commission of the robbery, the suspect shot the officer. The suspect fled the area in a full-sized white sedan.
Later in the day, at about 1:30 p.m., a male was approached in a parking lot at 6300 College Grove Way, in Oak Park, by a male and female wearing black clothing. Both suspects wore dark clothing with “POLICE” on the front. The male pointed a handgun at the victim and demanded his vehicle. The victim complied and the suspects took his black 2006 Suzuki hatchback. Other callers reported that a white Ford Crown Victoria had been set on fire in the same parking lot.
Shortly after 7:00 p.m. last night, the Suzuki stolen in the carjacking was recovered in Chula Vista. The vehicle had been set on fire at 100 Jefferson.
Due to similarities in the suspect actions and descriptions, it is believed the incidents are related.
The suspect is described as an unshaven Hispanic male, 30-35 years of age. He wore all black clothing with “POLICE” on the chest. He was armed with a silver semi-automatic handgun during the robberies. The female seen during the carjacking is described as a Hispanic female with a slim build. She was wearing a ski mask and clothing similar to the male suspect.
The injured officer is Leslie Stewart, a 27 year veteran of the San Diego Police Department assigned to Southern Division patrol. He is currently being treated at a local trauma center for a non-life threatening gunshot wound. He is in stable condition. His family asks that their privacy be respected at this time.
Anyone with information concerning this case is asked to contact San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.