COSTA MESA – On Tuesday morning, about 9:30, employees of Ramsay Rexall Drugs Pharmacy reported an armed robbery at their store at 2246 Newport Boulevard.
According to a Costa Mesa PD press release, employees told investigators that two black men who appeared to be in their mid 20’s had confronted them in the store. One threatened them with a knife while demanding cash and drugs. He took cash from the register, as well as drugs, including prescription narcotic painkillers, and both men left.
In a bit of criminal serendipity, on the way out the men encountered a FedEx driver who was delivering a box to the store. Apparently feeling something else of value had just been dropped into their laps, they forcibly grabbed the box and took their loot to the getaway car, where their accomplice was waiting.
The victims described the vehicle as a older model Lincoln Town Car with tinted windows, and got a partial licence plate number as they left. The car went north on Newport Boulevard, and then entered the 55 Newport Freeway going north. Meanwhile, the vehicle description was broadcast to Orange County law enforcement agencies.
Within half an hour, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department I.D. technician, who had heard the broadcast, spotted a matching vehicle, now heading inland along Ortega Highway near the Interstate 5 interchange. The Ortega Highway, Route 74, is a winding road connecting South Orange County with Riverside County through the mountains overlooking San Juan Capistrano. It is about a 45 minute drive from the Interstate 5 interchange to Riverside County.
Highway Patrol and Riverside County sheriffs were notified of the incident and pursuit, while an Orange County Sheriff helicopter unit helped OCSD deputies locate and overtake the vehicle as it neared Lake Elsinore. They stopped the car, an were able to immediately detain two suspects. The third man, however, fled on foot into a residential area. Riverside deputies, with the help of the helicopter, contained the area and soon found the fleeing suspect.
Costa Mesa police officers and detectives were also on hand, and were able to positively identify the suspects from witnesses of the robbery. Arrested were Roger B. Jones, 48-years-old of Perris, who was, based on the witness descriptions, likely to have been the getaway driver, along with Derek J. Lloyd, 30, also of Perris, and 27-year-old Marquis T. Blunt of Sun City.
The drugs and cash, which amounted to less than $100, were recovered at the time of arrest, along with the knife used in the robbery. All three men were arrested and taken to the Costa Mesa Police Department jail on the charges of 211PC – robbery. They will be booked at the Orange County Jail, and likely face additional charges, possibly including assault and resisting arrest, and will be investigated for possible links to other robberies. Anyone with additional information has been asked to contact Costa Mesa Police Detectives Ed Everett at 714-754-5395 or Bang Le at 714-754-5361.
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