Police are asking for the public’s help in finding one of three suspected members of a robbery crew that has made off with more than $15,000 worth of merchandise from High Desert Walmarts.
The other two suspects, Nikolas Vincent Powell and his girlfriend, Alexandra Lynn Arce, were in police custody Wednesday.
Investigators said the crew committed the crimes during business hours, while other customers were busy shopping. Surveillance video from one of the robberies shows a woman standing near the store’s jewelry display case while a man walks around nearby.
Moments later he casually unhooks a security chain, and, when the coast is clear, he is seen heading to a display case and breaking in through the back. He grabbed some high-end jewelry out of the case, then quickly fled with the woman.
"The crime spree actually started on the 13th about 10 p.m. at the Victorville Walmart on Amargosa (Road)," said Sgt. Ken Lutz of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Lutz said over a period of three days, the team committed the same crime at least five times at several different Walmarts, including the Hesperia store twice in just 24 hours, and targeted the jewelry and camera departments.
"They would hit these stores when staffing times that were a little low and there wasn't someone directly at the booth at that time," Lutz said.
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Surveillance video from one robbery also caught the license plate number of the getaway car, according to the sheriff’s department. That led them to Powell, who was on probation for narcotics charges.
"When he checked in (with his probation officer) we arrested him and when they went to the parking lot they found the suspect vehicle and the vehicle parked in the parking lot," Lutz said.
Investigators are still looking for the alleged third member of the crew, known only by the name “Ricky.” He can be seen in some surveillance video.
Detectives are also looking for any other possible victims, likely other big box retailers.
"So we're hoping by airing this we might be able to find other retailers that have similar thefts and can identify these thefts from their locations," Lutz said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department at 760-947-1500.