VAN NUYS : 3 Robbery Suspects Arrested After Chase

Three men suspected in a string of catering truck robberies in Van Nuys were arrested Tuesday after a chase in which one of the men fired several rounds at an officer, striking the windshield of his patrol car, authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the incident, which began about 11:15 a.m. in the 15700 block of Strathern Street and ended about 3:20 p.m. when a police dog found the last suspect hiding under a house.

"There have been a series of six catering truck robberies in the Van Nuys area since last month," Los Angeles Police Detective Mel Arnold said. "We feel confident that we have the persons responsible for this."

Arrested were William Christopher Curl, 18, and Gerard Lemar Benford, 21, both of Los Angeles, and Marlin Gums, 20, of Van Nuys. They were charged with attempted murder of a police officer and were being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, Arnold said.

The incident began when Police Detective Gregory Demirjian witnessed the robbery of a catering truck on Strathern, Arnold said. One of the men took about $600 from the truck driver and escaped on foot to a getaway car waiting around the corner.

Demirjian pursued the speeding suspects, calling for assistance along the way. When the men reached the tunnel at Stagg Street beneath the San Diego Freeway, they abandoned their car and one of them fired several rounds at Demirjian's car, hitting the windshield, Arnold said.

Demirjian and a responding patrol officer captured two of the suspects on foot. The third was caught after police cordoned off an area surrounding Orion Avenue and Stagg Street on the east side of the San Diego Freeway.

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