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‘Blue cloth bandit’ wanted for 68 armed robberies arrested by LAPD

A man wanted in connection with 68 armed robberies in Los Angeles County dating back to last October has been arrested, police announced Wednesday.

Authorities attributed all of the incidents to the the so-called “Blue cloth bandit,” who would use a blue cloth to cover a gun used in robberies at gas stations, 7-Elevens and Walmarts, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Charles Chukwuma Onwuemelie is seen in an image released by the LAPD on Sept. 28, 2022.

The man would conceal himself by wearing different hats, a face mask and rubber gloves, and police said the same vehicle was used in many of the robberies.

The robberies occurred in the city of L.A. as well as outside of the LAPD’s jurisdictions. The department’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division was assigned to 16 of the incidents that occurred with in city limits.

Police on Wednesday released video of one of the incidents.

“When the suspect struck again on Friday, September 23rd, detectives formulated a plan, initiated surveillance and ultimately served a search and arrest warrant,” police detailed in a news release.

Charles Chukwuma Onwuemelie, 29, of Quartz Hill, was eventually arrested at his home, where evidence, including a gun, linking him to the crimes was recovered.

Onwuemelie was charged on Tuesday with 16 counts of robbery for the incidents that occurred in the city of Los Angeles, police said.

More charges are likely for the robberies that occurred in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s jurisdiction, and the suspect may be tied to additional incidents, authorities added.

Anyone with additional information about Onwuemelie or know of any additional crimes tied to him is asked to call Detective Esther Myape at 213-486-6840.

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