Band of robbers target pedestrians in E. County

Posted at 11:30 AM, May 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-01 14:30:02-04

Police in the East County were on the lookout for a roving band of robbery suspects that struck twice in the pre-dawn hours Sunday morning in La Mesa and El Cajon, according to authorities.

The first incident happened in the vicinity of Johnson and Madison Avenues in El Cajon shortly before 2 a.m., when a group of about eight robbers jumped a man and stole his cell phone and shoes, according to an El Cajon Police Department dispatcher.

The second robbery happened at about 5 a.m. in La Mesa in the 500 block of Palm Avenue. A man in his 20's was walking along a dimly lit sidewalk when four armed black men with bandanas over their faces jumped out of some bushes and stole his cell phone and a laptop case containing his work clothes, according to La Mesa police Lt. Vince Brown.

"This is unusual for La Mesa and El Cajon," Brown said. There have been other similar robberies in recent weeks in the East County, Brown said.

The victim in the latest robbery ran after being held up and was able to get to a phone to call police. He was not injured, Brown said.

The suspects escaped the area despite efforts by officers on the ground with help from the sheriff's helicopter.

The suspects in Sunday's and previous robberies were described as being either Hispanic or black, some carrying handguns, according to Brown.