Downtown Los Angeles header image
Los Angeles Police Department Badge


News Release

Wednesday, September 16, 1998

Media Relations

Salon Robbery Suspect Arrested


September 16, 1998

On September 15, 1998, 2245 hours detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department, Robbery-Homicide Division assisted by Special Investigation Section (S.I.S.) arrested Walter Antonio Cortez on an arrest warrant charging murder, attempt murder, rape and a series of robberies. The crimes were committed in Hair/Nail Salons, restaurants and miscellaneous small businesses.

In mid March of 1998, Cortez began a series of armed robberies in hair and nail salons. Cortez would pose as a customer, case the location, at times make a purchase leaving the location and return and commit the robbery. On 4 occasions, he raped or sexually assaulted lone operators.

Cortez committed the majority of his crimes in the San Fernando Valley area, with the exception of one robbery, attempt murder in the Northeast Division. In this crime, Cortez armed with a handgun shot and seriously wounded a female witness for looking at him.

As Cortez continued his crime spree it was later discovered that he was also the perpetrator of several robbery rapes in restaurants. Cortez was also identified as the suspect in a murder in Rampart Division. On May 12, 1998, Cortez entered a small business located in the 3600 block of W. 3rd street, armed with a handgun. Cortez attempted to rob the pregnant storeowner. He shot the pregnant owner three times and fled. Victim baby boy Flores was delivered, and died as a result of maternal gunshot wounds.

Between March 18, 1998 and present, Cortez has been linked or associated with approximately 30 armed robberies, 6 rapes/sexual batteries, one murder and one attempt murder.

The identify and subsequent apprehension of Cortez is the results of a joint effort coordinated by Robbery-Homicide Division, with Van Nuys, Foothill, Devonshire, West Valley, North Hollywood, Northeast, Rampart Detectives, DSD, SIS, Fugitives, Cobra and the Media.

The concerted efforts of each resulted in the successful identify and apprehension of a career predator.

Cortez will be arraigned today, September 16, 1998, in Division 100 on the above charges. There is no bail.

For further information, contact Detectives Rubalcava or Hedwell, Robbery Homicide Division.

For Release 10:38 am PST
September 16, 1998