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Van Nuys | Valley Focus

4 Charged in Series of Armed Robberies

November 15, 1996|JOHN M. GONZALES

Four men were charged Thursday as suspected members of a prolific robbery ring, who police say victimized 60 San Fernando Valley mom-and-pop stores over the past five months.

Enrique Arreola, 27, of Van Nuys, Waldo Navarete, 28, of Panorama City, Jose Ulloa, 21, of Zillah, Wash., and Elvis Ulloa, 22, of Visalia were each charged with multiple counts of armed robbery in Van Nuys Municipal Court, authorities said.

The men were all born in Nayarit, Mexico, but Los Angeles Police Det. Erwin Velasco said it was unclear whether the Ulloas were related and whether the band had been formed in their homeland or the United States.

Only one person was injured during the robberies, which were mostly against Latino- or Asian-owned businesses situated from Burbank to Chatsworth.

A store employee was shot in the shoulder when he attempted to grab one robber's gun during an October holdup in San Fernando. Police have yet to tally the amounts taken, but no single crime netted more than $9,000.

Two men usually stood lookout while another posed as a customer, walked to the counter, flashed a handgun and asked for the money in English or Spanish. Some of the videotapes show legitimate customers standing shoulder to shoulder with the gunmen, unaware a crime was in progress, police said.

No one has been charged in the shooting, and the four men were arrested at different times, the most recent arrest occurring Tuesday.

At least one other member of the alleged ring remains at large.

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