Blowtorch-wielding robbery suspect in custody, police say

Blowtorch-wielding robbery suspect in custody, linked to other bizarre theft, police say

The blowtorch-toting robbery suspect who allegedly stole cash and vodka from a Glendale deli Saturday evening is in custody and police have reportedly linked him to a similar robbery in Long Beach, authorities said.

The man, identified as Jermeile Hairston, 41, was discovered to already be in custody once police, using a partial license plate obtained by a witness in the Long Beach incident, identified him, said Glendale police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.

He had been arrested in Carson on Monday in an unrelated incident.

On Saturday evening, Hairston allegedly entered Gardenia Market and Deli, purchased a cup of coffee and left. He returned about 15 minutes later and walked toward the back of the store, seeming to wait for customers to leave, Lightfoot said.

He then went behind the counter where the store clerk was sitting and allegedly pulled out a blowtorch and a cigarette lighter. The clerk jumped on the counter. The suspect lit the torch and pointed it at him, instructing him not to move and to give him money, Lightfoot said.

He made off with an unknown amount of cash and a bottle of vodka, Lightfoot said.

Long Beach police responded to a similar incident hours after the Glendale robbery.

Around 4:45 a.m. on Sunday, police were sent to the 2600 block of Santa Fe Avenue in Long Beach where a man had allegedly pointed a small aerosol can and lighter at a clerk at a business, ignited a flame and demanded money, said police spokeswoman Marlene Arrona.

He fled with an undetermined amount of cash.

Hairston, who is now in the custody of the Glendale Police Department, was positively identified by the Glendale victim, Lightfoot said.

For more Glendale news, follow @atchek. She can be reached at alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com.

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