Police warn of armed robberies in Davis, one suspect arrested

Police warn of armed robberies in Davis, one suspect arrested

Photo Credits: KIYOMI WATSON / AGGIE

Davis PD arrested a man in connection to at least one of five recent armed robberies in city

After warning the community of a string of similar armed robbery incidents over the past couple of months, Davis police announced the arrest of a man connected to at least one of the five crimes. 

Davis police sent released a message on Oct. 10 through the community alert network, Nixle, warning Davis residents about a series of five armed robberies that occurred between Sept. 19 and Oct. 9 in the city. In each instance, police said, the victim was approached on the street and threatened with a handgun. 

“In all 5 cases the suspect(s) have approached the victim on a street or sidewalk and threatened the victim with a handgun before taking property,” the release read. “Property taken has included personal electronics (phones and computers) along with wallets.”

One of the five muggings, which occurred on Sept. 20, received some media attention. Syed Fahad Shah, a scholar visiting UC Davis, was robbed at gunpoint while walking along Russell Boulevard. Shah said an armed man and an accomplice took his laptop, containing irreplaceable research, as well as his wallet and laptop.

 On Oct. 18, the Davis Police announced the arrest of one man, Eric Rodriguez, suspected of participating in at least one of the robberies. Rodriguez was taken into custody in Woodland after turning himself in for an Oct. 5 armed robbery near Sycamore Lane and Villanova Drive. 

“After the robbery, Rodriguez fled out of state where detectives were able to make contact with him by phone,” the Facebook post read. “Detectives negotiated with [Rodriguez] for the past two days, and he agreed to turn himself in.”

Lt. Paul Doroshov of the Davis PD said police are not certain whether Rodriguez is connected to any of the other five incidents, and they confirmed that their investigation into the series of crimes was ongoing. 

“We suspect, based on the information that we have now, that he is complicit in the armed robbery on [Oct. 5],” Doroshov said. “We haven’t connected him officially to any of the other cases at this point — although we’re investigating that option.”

 Doroshov said Rodriguez was reportedly accompanied by a female suspect during the Oct. 5 incident. He noted that some victims of the series of muggings had also reported multiple perpetrators. 

  “There were some that had a couple of suspects, and some [victims] described a solo suspect,” Doroshov said.

The Nixle alert noted that suspect descriptions associated with the robberies were “limited” and only “vaguely similar” in reported appearance.   

After the string of five robberies, the last of which occurred on Oct. 8, there have not been any similar incidents, according to Doroshov. 

Police recognized the possibility of a connection between the muggings, according to the Nixle alert. Doroshov said this particular string of armed robberies stood out because suspects targeted individual pedestrians rather than businesses. 

“These are a little different in the sense that the targets are actually just people walking down the street,” Doroshov said. “Typically we get armed robbery of a store, or a gas station, or something — a business. In this case, it’s just people.” 

 In its Nixle alert, the Davis PD warned community members to “stay vigilant,” cautioning against walking alone at night, particularly in poorly lit, unpopulated areas. Police also advised citizens to turn on tracking software on their electronic devices and to cooperate in the event of armed robbery.

Doroshov added that police were encouraging UC Davis students and community members to back up any important information, projects or documents stored on their electronic devices. 

“In addition to the electronics, what people end up losing in these [incidents] is a lot of data and work products,” Doroshov said. “We’re just really urging people — for whatever reason — make sure you’re backing up your data or your work products somewhere else, in addition to your personal device. Even if it gets stolen out of your car, for a lot of people, that’s a huge loss.” 

Written by: Tim Lalonde — city@theaggie.org