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  • PUBLIC SAFETY

    Local man suspected of 23 armed robberies

    Crime spree spans four counties, authorities say
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  • APPLE VALLEY — A Victorville man who authorities say is responsible for 23 armed robberies in four counties is now behind bars, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials announced Tuesday.
    Giovanny Illich Velasquez, 35, of Victorville, was arrested by deputies in the area of Mesquite and Sitting Bull roads in Apple Valley at around 9:15 a.m. Saturday.
    Sheriff’s officials said the arrest was the “result of an extensive investigation” by the Sheriff’s Department that found Velasquez responsible for 14 San Bernardino County armed robberies and nine more armed robberies throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties.
    Velasquez pleaded not guilty to three counts of robbery and three counts of commercial burglary, all felonies, at the Victorville courthouse Tuesday, court records show.
    According to sheriff’s officials, Velasquez robbed three Hesperia businesses in June and July of this year. In each instance, authorities said he wore a disguise and displayed a black semi-automatic handgun.
    A felony complaint from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office reports that the crimes took place at a Hesperia Gas and Mart on Bear Valley Road on June 21 and at an unspecified Walgreens store on July 9 and again on July 24.
    Deputies also discovered Velasquez was on active parole for residential robbery. Court records show Velasquez was sentenced to five years in prison after accepting a plea deal in a 2009 robbery and burglary.
    Sheriff’s officials reported search warrants were conducted at several locations, including two residences and a vehicle owned by Velasquez. In the vehicle, deputies said they found and seized evidence connecting Velasquez to multiple robberies.
    He was arrested and booked at the High Desert Detention Center, with his bail set at $600,000. He has a no-bail hold for violation of the terms of his parole.
    Additional charges against Velasquez are pending, according to sheriff’s officials. The Barstow Police Department announced Tuesday that he is suspected of two convenience store robberies in Barstow.
    Velasquez was arraigned at the Victorville courthouse on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty.
    Anyone with information regarding these crimes is asked to call Detective Jarrod Burns at the Hesperia Station at 760-947-1500. Citizens can also contact WeTip at 800-87-CRIME or www.wetip.com to report suspicious or criminal activity.
    Anneli Fogt can be reached at AFogt@VVDailyPress.com or 760-951-6276.
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