A 31-year-old Irvine man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of being the "Dr Pepper bandit," responsible for a string of robberies at convenience stores in the last two months, police said.
A team of undercover officers from the Costa Mesa and Irvine police departments arrested Marc Allen Lewis at 9 a.m. as he was leaving the Orangetree condominium complex where he lives with a cousin, Costa Mesa Police Lt. John FitzPatrick said.
Lewis, who grew up in Newport Beach and attended Newport-Harbor High School, was booked in connection with robberies from Tustin to Mission Viejo. He is being held on $50,000 bail.
Lewis' lawyer, longtime family friend Si Chebithes, said of his client: "There's nothing in his history that would in any way associate him with the charges pending. In many ways, he's been quite an exemplary young man."
Police dubbed the robber the "Dr Pepper bandit" because he usually walked to the counter with a bottle of the soft drink before he held up the cashier.
The string of robberies began Aug. 7, when $500 was taken from a liquor store in Fountain Valley. The most recent incident was Monday, a robbery that netted only $4.25 worth of goods from a Costa Mesa liquor store.
Police said the bandit's average take was about $300.
Investigators suspected that the robber lived in Irvine because all of the incidents took place near there but never within that city.