A man arrested on suspicion of being the so-called Hooded Bandit who robbed more than 50 convenience stores in the San Fernando Valley told officers he needed the money to support his elderly parents, Los Angeles police said Friday.
Ehsan Mohamad Jalal, 28, who lives with his parents near where he was arrested early Friday, cooperated with detectives, said Lt. Jimmy Grayson of the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division.
Jalal was arrested after he allegedly stole an undisclosed amount of money from a market in the 20000 block of Vanowen Street in Winnetka, police said.
"When we pulled up in the parking lot, he was at the counter getting the cash from the guy," said Officer Marcelo Raffi, who arrested Jalal.
Raffi said he and his partner saw a man matching the bandit's description watching customers going in and out of the store. When he saw the last person leave, the suspect put on a hood and rushed into the store, Raffi said.
After confronting the cashier, the man ran out of the store. Police were waiting.
"There was nowhere to go," Raffi said. "He had a surprised look on his face. We ordered him to the ground."
The clerk told officers he thought he recognized Jalal as the same person who robbed the store about a month ago, Raffi said.
Grayson said the robberies began in May and police began staking out Valley convenience stores about four weeks ago.
"He terrorized the Valley for approximately three months," Grayson said. "This guy was tenacious."
The robber was captured on several surveillance cameras wearing a hooded sweatshirt, a bandanna on his face and gloves during each robbery, making his identification difficult, police said.
Grayson said that although he never showed a weapon, the robber told victims that he had a gun and would shoot anyone who did not cooperate. Jalal had a knife when he was arrested, he said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said he was being held on $1.75 million bail.