SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 27-year-old Corona man was arrested Wednesday on federal charges of eight armed robberies and two attempted robberies during a spree of holdups in Orange County in November.
George Arizon is charged with a count of interference with commerce by robbery and a count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Arizon is expected to make his first appearance in federal court in Santa Ana on Thursday.
Detective David Prewett of the Santa Ana Police Department, who works with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in an affidavit that the defendant is accused of eight robberies and two attempted holdups of restaurants, a hair salon and a 7-Eleven store from Nov. 1-8.
The first attempted robbery happened around 4:50 p.m. Nov. 1 at a Chinese Food Express restaurant at 2413 S. Fairview St. in Santa Ana. When a frightened clerk fled into the kitchen the would-be robber turned around, left and then held up Yogi's Teriyaki next door, Prewett said.
The robber said, "Give me all your money, I don't want to make a scene" then fled with about $500 from the cash register, Prewett said.
Later that night, he tried to rob a Little Caesar's Pizza at 1442 S. Bristol St., but when a clerk said he wasn't able to open the cash register and left to get a manager the suspect fled, Prewett said. Arizon allegedly then turned to a Subway restaurant in the same strip mall and robbed it at gunpoint of about $400.
That same night he robbed a La Michoacana restaurant in the same strip mall of about $300, Prewett said.
The defendant also robbed a Subway at 10120 Garden Grove Blvd. in Garden Grove at about 3:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, the detective said. When a clerk attempted to run away, the defendant allegedly cornered him and forced him at gunpoint to give him $700 from the cash register. Arizon then walked over to the Moozi Tea Bar next door and robbed it of $600, Prewett said.
At 4 p.m. that same day, he moved on to rob the Wok Experience restaurant at 13511 Beach Blvd. in Westminster and then to a neighboring Supercuts at 13521 Beach Blvd., where an employee handed him $5 of her own money as he demanded cash from the register and took an unknown amount before fleeing, Prewett said.
Arizon then robbed a 7-Eleven store at 13541 Beach Blvd. where the clerk was attempting to fix a cash register that was already open, Prewett said. The suspect took $80 from the cash box, demanded and received two packs of Newport cigarettes and grabbed a small lighter from the counter that he remarked was "cheap," Prewett said.
Westminster police arriving on scene spotted the suspect running away and gave chase but lost him, the detective said. The suspect shed multiple articles of clothing while getting away, including a sweatshirt with the NASA emblem on it that was recovered by officers, Prewett said.
Investigators also linked the defendant to the crimes through license plate reading cameras that spotted pickup trucks as getaway vehicles, according to Prewett.
The defendant has prior convictions in 2015 for shooting at an inhabited dwelling, assault with a firearm on a person and possession of a firearm, Prewett said.