A Los Angeles serial robber was finally arrested on Saturday after authorities had been on his trail for nearly two years. Charles Chukwuma Onwuemelie, 29, is linked to a string of over five dozen armed robberies and has been dubbed the “Blue Cloth Bandit” for allegedly using a blue cloth to cover his handgun during his heists.
The Los Angeles Police department (LAPD) announced his capture, citing a total of 68 armed robberies linked to Onwuemelie since October 2021. Apart from his signature blue cloth, authorities described the suspect’s modus of concealing his identity with his usual get-up of wearing different face masks and hats as well as rubber gloves. He was also observed to have been using the same vehicle in all his robberies, Fox 11 reported.
Surveillance footage was released by the LAPD which showed the suspect seemingly trying to purchase items at a convenience store. He then reveals what appears to be a weapon covered by a blue cloth. In the video, he is also seen wearing a pair of blue gloves and a hat that strategically hides his face from the camera. Detectives said they were able to pin the suspect to the series of robberies “based on several factors.”
Since October last year, cops have followed his trail of targets that included gas stations, Walmart and 7-Eleven stores across the city and county of Los Angeles. Onwuemelie was able to rob sixteen businesses within the city boundaries alone. He was apprehended at his home in Quartz Hill after a search and arrest warrant was issued which led detectives to evidence, including a firearm, that pinned him to all the robberies. He has been in custody since and is being held on $1.4 billion bail.
“When the suspect struck again on Friday, September 23rd, detectives formulated a plan, initiated surveillance and ultimately served a search and arrest warrant, “ police said.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office officially filed 16 counts of robbery against Onwuemelie on Sept. 27 for the crimes he committed within the city. He is expected to face additional charges to be filed by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for the armed robberies he conducted within LA County borders.