A 21-year-old Lancaster man was one of two men charged Tuesday, Sept. 6, in a series of daytime robberies that allegedly targeted victims with expensive watches, jewelry and cash — primarily in the San Gabriel Valley and Glendale, authorities said.
Demoryie Watts, who was arrested at his Lancaster home on Aug. 12, was charged with six counts of second-degree robbery and one count of elder abuse stemming from a series of crimes, including an attack on July 9 that was caught on video of a 64-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman in the parking lot of a 99 Ranch Market in the Rowland Heights area.
“These brazen crimes – all of which occurred during the day – are deeply troubling. The victims had their sense of safety shattered,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a news release. “The majority of the people victimized were from the Asian American Community and I know that this has caused significant community trauma. I hope that all of those who have been impacted by this spree of violence sleep better tonight knowing that those who caused harm will be held accountable.”
Also charged in the crimes is 25-year-old Dangelo Thomas, who faces 12 counts of second-degree robbery and three counts of elder abuse. Thomas and Watts are also facing firearm use allegations. The district attorney noted that the male victim in the Rowland Heights attack was pistol-whipped and injured as he and the woman loaded items into their vehicle outside the 99 Ranch Market.
Watts and Thomas, both armed, attacked the pair and took the man’s Rolex watch before fleeing the scene in a white Dodge Challenger with paper plates, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported, with Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis subsequently saying the watch was valued at $60,000.
Similar crimes allegedly involving one or both of the defendants occurred in Glendale, Rosemead, La Puente, Temple City and Fullerton, in which items including Rolex watches, jewelry, a designer purse and cash were taken, according to Gascón.
A third man, Eric Burham, 21, is facing one count of second-degree robbery involving an alleged May 11 attack with Watts and Thomas on a 35-year- old woman and a 31-year-old man in Glendale, in which cash and various items were taken, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Gascón said there is an “ongoing investigation” into the alleged crime spree, noting that “a lot of work is still pending” and that there may be additional charges filed in the future.
UPDATED 9/8/22: Arraignment has been postponed until Sept. 22 for Demoryie Watts and Dangelo Thomas.
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