SAN DIEGO — A 67-year-old man known to police as the “Bolt Bandit” because of his Chargers beanie remains in custody Wednesday after he robbed or attempted to rob five convenience stores in a 12-day span this month in several San Diego neighborhoods, police said Wednesday.
Ronald Gregory Perez, who police say wore a beanie adorned with a Chargers lightning bolt during all five robbery attempts to earn his “Bolt Bandit” moniker, is expected to be arraigned Wednesday in a downtown San Diego courtroom on three felony counts of robbery and two felony counts of attempted robbery, San Diego police Lt. Eric Hays said. Perez was booked into the San Diego Central Jail at 9 p.m. Saturday and has remained in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Perez was arrested Saturday shortly after attempting to rob his second Bay Park convenience store within about three hours, Hays said.
“Perez was identified following the last case on (Saturday) … and located in the 3900 block of Clairemont Drive and taken into custody,” Hays said. “Perez was in possession of evidence linking him to all five cases.”
The crime spree allegedly began Nov. 14 when he robbed the Subway restaurant in Kearny Mesa. The morning after that heist, Officer Tony Martinez said the suspect entered the sandwich shop wearing surgical gloves and wielding a handgun, but a bandana over his face prevented witnesses or police from determining his race or relative age.
The spree continued Nov. 20 at a 7-Eleven in Hillcrest, Hays said. Police did not release details of the incident, but Perez was apparently unsuccessful in that attempt.
Two days later, on Nov. 22, an armed gunman robbed the AM/PM convenience store at the ARCO gas station at 1550 Moreno Blvd. in Bay Park, police said. After the heist, which happened about 6 a.m., police revealed for the first time that the suspect wore a Chargers beanie.
The suspect’s downfall came three days later when he returned to that same AM/PM store just hours after holding up another AM/PM market in the 6100 block of Balboa Avenue in Clairemont Mesa.
The first heist Saturday happened just before 5 a.m. and resulted in the armed suspect fleeing the Clairemont Mesa convenience store with cash from the register, police said. Then around 8 a.m., the same suspect entered the AM/PM in Bay Park — the same convenience store that was held up three days prior — pulled a gun and demanded money, but he allegedly panicked and fled the store empty-handed when a customer walked in and spooked him.
Police said at the time they suspected the would-be robber was the same person who’d held up that AM/PM earlier in the week. It wasn’t immediately clear how they tracked him down, but Hays said the final failed attempt led detectives to arrest Perez on Saturday near the Clairemont Town Square shopping center.
Police have not released surveillance photos or video of Perez.
Anyone with information about any of the robberies was asked to call SDPD’s robbery unit at 619-531-2299 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.