A 19-year-old man already being held on eight armed-robbery charges was identified by 33 of 57 additional holdup victims and witnesses when he appeared in a lineup earlier this week, Los Angeles police said Thursday.
Andre Johnson, known by police as the "pockmarked bandit" because of severe facial scars, may face many more charges because of the lineup, which was held Tuesday night in the Los Angeles County Jail, authorities said.
"It was amazing," Lt. William J. Gaida said. "We had so many witnesses we had to transport them down to the lineup in a bus."
Detectives believe Johnson has robbed as many as 50 mini-markets, liquor stores and restaurants in the San Fernando Valley and other parts of Los Angeles since May. He also is suspected in some South Bay robberies.
Johnson was arrested July 17 in Los Angeles and is being held in the West Valley police station jail in Reseda in lieu of $200,000 bail. He is charged with eight counts of armed robbery in connection with six holdups of restaurants, mini-markets and grocery stores in the West San Fernando Valley from May 24 through July 11.
A preliminary hearing Thursday on the charges was postponed because of Tuesday's lineup.
"Because so many people identified him, we'll be filing additional charges," Deputy Dist. Atty. Michelle R. Rosenblatt said. She declined to say how many more charges would be filed, but police Detective Bob Horowitz, who is heading the investigation, said the lineup could lead to the filing of 24 to 31 more.
Rosenblatt, who met with Horowitz Thursday to discuss the case, said a decision on the number of additional counts will be made next week.
"The problem we're having is the incredible volume of paper work and the number of outside jurisdictions involved," Gaida said.
Rosenblatt declined to describe the method of operation used in the holdups, except to say that none of the victims or witnesses was hurt.