The four-person crew is said to have targeted at least five Verizon Wireless stores across Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties in the past five months.
A sixth robbery said to be connected to the others occurred Wednesday evening at a Verizon store in Tuscon, according to Ginger Colbrun, a spokeswoman for the ATF.
“Our agent here in Los Angeles started investigating the Verizon robberies in October and saw commonalities in them,” she said.
In each robbery, the suspects would mainly target the cellphones at the stores. Because of their similarities, Colbrun said it was believed that the Arizona and California incidents were all connected.
Federal agents tracked the group to Glendale. With the help of the Glendale Police Department, all four suspects were taken into custody without incident.
One of the suspected robbers was a Glendale resident, 23-year-old Gaspar Khachaturyan. The rest — 41-year-old Zachary Wade, 30-year-old Marques Pettywright and 29-year-old Randall Tate — live in Long Beach.
A fifth person was also taken into custody but was later released, according to Colbrun.
She said the group may be responsible for additional robberies of Verizon stores.
2:25 p.m.: This article was updated with information from ATF on how many people were arrested.
Federal and local agencies worked together to take down an armed robbery crew from Long Beach and Glendale suspected of hitting several Verizon Wireless stores in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties and Arizona, the Department of Justice announced Friday.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Glendale Police Department on Thursday, Feb. 1, arrested Zachary S. Wade, 41, Marques A. Pettywright, 30, and Randall L. Tate Jr., 29, all of Long Beach, and Gaspar Khachaturyan, 23, of Glendale, according to a press release. A fifth individual was detained and later released.
The agencies worked together to track down and apprehend the crew within 24 hours of the men hitting a store in Tucson, Arizona, officials said.
In October 2017, the ATF had already been looking into a connection between five Verizon Wireless armed robberies in Southern California, officials said.
Soon after the Wednesday evening heist at the Arizona store, local ATF agents working with ATF officials in Tuscon determined the same group was responsible for the Arizona and Southern California crimes, officials said.
ATF investigators ask anyone with information on the robberies, and those may who have experienced similar robberies at Verizon stores, to call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477).
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