3 Los Angeles County Residents Charged With 10 Armed Robberies of Pharmacies

3 Los Angeles County Residents Charged With 10 Armed Robberies of Pharmacies

A Rite Aid in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Oct. 18, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

10/24/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Two men and one woman were expected to appear in federal court Oct. 24 for allegedly committing 10 armed robberies of Rite Aid and Walgreens stores in Los Angeles County over a six-week period.
Federal authorities Oct. 6 charged Makai Yusef Sanders, 22, and Kenyatta Kamar Jones, 22, both of Hawthorne, California; and Diavion Deshawna Mouton, of Carson, California, with Hobbs Act robbery—robbery affecting interstate commerce—and using or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.
The trio were expected to make an initial appearance Tuesday in Los Angeles District Court.
According to a federal affidavit, the defendants allegedly committed the armed robberies from Aug. 9 to Sept. 19 of Rite Aid and Walgreens stores in Long Beach, Bellflower, South Los Angeles, Pasadena, Whittier, Lakewood, Monterey Park, Burbank, and Glendale.
Federal authorities say Ms. Mouton was the getaway driver while Mr. Sanders and Mr. Jones robbed stores wearing black masks about an hour before they closed, reportedly using handguns. The men allegedly stole victims’ cellphones and took money from store safes.
On Sept. 19, authorities allege Mr. Sanders and Mr. Jones—wore masks to rob a Walgreens store in Glendale and robbed a customer who was at the register trying to buy items. The robbers reportedly held the victim at gunpoint and stole an iPhone.
One of the defendants allegedly then robbed a store employee, pointing a handgun at her back and telling her to take him to the store’s safe. The robber apparently used the barrel of the gun to push her to and get her to move faster, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
“In fear for her life, the employee began walking to the back of the store where the safe was located,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release Tuesday. “Once at the back of the store, the employee noticed the robber was distracted talking to the other robber. The employee then locked herself inside the store’s staffing office and called 911.”
The robbers stole about $776 from the Walgreens registers, and four iPhones from victims, authorities say. They then left the store and drove away in a white Honda Civic reportedly driven by Ms. Mouton, which law enforcement later found had been booked through a peer-to-peer car sharing service, which allows car owners to rent their vehicles.
Using phone records and GPS data, law enforcement tracked down the defendants and arrested them Sept. 26. At the time of their arrests, federal authorities say Mr. Jones and Mr. Sanders had handguns that matched the firearms reportedly used in the Walgreens robbery. Law enforcement said they also found clothing, including one of the back masks used in that robbery.
The trio was transferred to federal custody Tuesday.
If convicted of both charges, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on the Hobbs Act robbery count and up to life in prison for the firearm count.
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.