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Suspect arrested in series of robberies across O.C., including Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa

Suspect arrested in series of robberies across O.C., including Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa
Emanuel Demar Banks, 38, of Los Angeles was arrested in connection with a series of robberies at gas stations and fast-food restaurants in Orange County. (Irvine Police Department)

A man suspected in a series of at least seven robberies at gas stations and fast-food restaurants across Orange County was arrested Tuesday in Gardena, officials said.

Emanuel Demar Banks, 38, of Los Angeles was taken into custody by Irvine police, who began investigating the case after a robbery in their city on Sunday, police said in a news release. Banks was booked into Orange County Jail.

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After searching Banks’ hotel room, officers found evidence related to the series of robberies that occurred over the weekend and Monday, police said.

Businesses also were targeted in Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Westminster.

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On Sunday, a string of incidents began in Irvine, where a man entered the Chevron gas station at 5425 Alton Parkway at about 7:40 p.m. and approached the cashier with an item. Instead of paying, the man brandished a gun and demanded money from the clerk. He fled with about $100 in cash, officials said.

At around 8:30 p.m., a man went into the McDonald’s restaurant at 2452 Bryan Ave. in Tustin and ordered food. When the cash drawer was opened, he brandished a silver handgun, demanded cash and then fled once he had it, according to Tustin police Lt. Bob Wright.

Tustin police released this surveillance image of a man suspected in a robbery at a McDonald's on Bryan Avenue on Sunday night.
Tustin police released this surveillance image of a man suspected in a robbery at a McDonald's on Bryan Avenue on Sunday night. (Tustin Police Department)

At about 10 p.m., a similar robbery was reported at the Carl’s Jr. restaurant at 9022 Adams Ave. in Huntington Beach, according to Huntington Beach police Officer Angela Bennett.

About 35 minutes later, a man began a transaction at the Arco gas station at Harbor Boulevard and Gisler Avenue in Costa Mesa, then produced a handgun, took money from the register and fled. Officers set up a perimeter and searched the area but were unable to find the man, authorities said.

On Monday, another similar robbery occurred at about 1:30 p.m. at the Shell station at Magnolia Street and Bolsa Avenue in Westminster, officials said.

“Usually a robbery of this nature will happen at nighttime,” Westminster police Cmdr. Cameron Knauerhaze said. “It’s unusual — and I’ve got to say a little unsettling — to have one in broad daylight in such a busy area like Little Saigon, where there’s so many people and it’s heavy traffic”

It was unclear when and where the robberies in Santa Ana and Garden Grove occurred.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the case.

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