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News Release

Monday, February 2, 2009

Media Relations

Off Duty LAPD Sergeant Credited with Arrest of Robbery Suspect

Los Angeles: The keen observation skills of an off duty Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant led to the arrest of a dangerous robbery suspect.

On Tuesday, February 2, 2009, at about 4:15 a.m., a North Hollywood patrol sergeant had just left work when he spotted a vehicle that he recognized as one used by two suspects who were wanted in connection with a string of robberies that began a little over twelve hours earlier.

The Sergeant, with nearly thirteen years of service with the Department, saw the older model Toyota, northbound near the 6500 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard.  The Sergeant immediately contacted the North Hollywood Division Watch Commander who dispatched patrol units to the Sergeant’s location.  The patrol units conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and took the suspect, Jose Manuel Vargas, a 22-year-old man from Winnetka, into custody.

The crime spree began on February 1, 2009 at around 4:20 p.m. when two male Hispanics armed with handguns robbed an gas station located in the 13200 block of Sherman Way.  Over the next twelve hours the same two suspects committed an additional ten armed robberies in the areas of North Hollywood, West Valley, Van Nuys, Topanga, Mission and Devonshire Divisions in addition to two robberies in the City of Burbank.  During the crime spree the suspects changed vehicles numerous times, but witnesses were able to write down the license plate numbers in most of the robberies.  Victims and witnesses from the robberies were able to positively identify Vargas as one of the robbers.  The second suspect is still at large.

Vargas was booked for Robbery and is being held on $400,000.00 bail.  

Anyone with information is asked to call North Hollywood Robbery Detectives Jennifer Hammer or Noah Stone at 818-623-4061.  After hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 or by texting CRIMES (274637) and beginning the message with the letters LAPD.  Tipsters may also submit information on the LAPD website  www.lapdonline.org.  All tips are anonymous.