L.A. gang member arrested on suspicion of robbing Fountain Valley liquor store at gunpoint

Fountain Valley police Thursday announced the arrest of Steven Martinez, 23, of Los Angeles, on suspicion of armed robbery.
(Courtesy of Fountain Valley Police Department)

Fountain Valley police this week arrested a 23-year-old Los Angeles man on suspicion of armed robbery, believing he and another suspect stormed into a liquor store the morning of July 11, pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded money.

The incident took place shortly before 9:30 a.m. at American Liquor on Magnolia Street, when the pair allegedly stole an undisclosed amount of cash, a high-end bottle of tequila and miscellaneous items from the register area before fleeing the scene, FVPD Det. Sgt. Bill Hughes confirmed Thursday.

Hughes said investigators working on the case identified Steven Martinez, 23, of Los Angeles, as the suspect who allegedly held the clerk at gunpoint during the robbery. Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division, specializing in gang-related crimes, assisted in locating the suspect.

American Liquor in Fountain Valley.
American Liquor in Fountain Valley on Thursday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“He’s a documented gang member in their area,” Hughes said, indicating Martinez is currently on probation in Los Angeles County related to an incident involving felony domestic violence and weapons-related charges.

LAPD officers on Tuesday located Martinez in a vehicle on a street near his neighborhood. A loaded Glock-style unregistered “ghost gun” was discovered inside the vehicle, according to a FVPD release issued Thursday.

The suspect was arrested and booked into Orange County jail on charges of robbery, possession of a firearm and probation violation. Martinez, who is listed in an online inmate locator as being unemployed, is being held on $100,000 bail.

Appearing in a Santa Ana courtroom on Thursday, Martinez pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of second-degree robbery and being a felon found in possession of a firearm. He also denied a felony enhancement related to personal use of a firearm.

Los Angeles County court records show Martinez was convicted in August 2021 for possession of a firearm and was sentenced to serve 78 days in county jail with two years’ probation. In August 2020, he was convicted of causing corporeal injury to a spouse or partner and sentenced to 32 days in jail with three years’ probation.

He is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 5 for a bail review hearing and pre-trial conference, court records indicate. The second suspect — whom police did not name or describe Thursday, due to an ongoing investigation — remains at large.

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