Los Angeles Times

Fugitive in L.A. armored car heists is captured by FBI

Suspected ringleader of the ‘Chesapeake Bandits’ is arrested in Rancho Cucamonga.

- By Richard Winton

A fugitive suspected of being a ringleader of a prolific L.A. armored car robbery crew was captured by the FBI on Wednesday evening.

James Russell Davis, one of at least seven alleged robbers involved in the heists, was arrested in Rancho Cucamonga less than a week after authoritie­s publicized their search for him, said Donald Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.

Authoritie­s disseminat­ed his image, characteri­zing him as a mastermind behind a yearlong series of carefully planned armored car heists carried out with assault-style rifles.

The crew has stolen more than $500,000, according to the FBI.

A federal arrest warrant was issued for Davis, 34, after he was charged last month in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.

An alleged accomplice, Deneyvous Hobson, 36, was taken into custody Feb. 21. At least five others believed to be part of the “Chesapeake Bandits” — so called because investigat­ors say they planned the holdups at a home on Chesapeake Avenue in L.A.’s West Adams neighborho­od — remain at large.

A video of one of the heists shows masked bandits wielding guns including an AR-style rifle with a short barrel, an optical sight and a large extended magazine.

The bandits would force security guards to the ground at gunpoint, zip-tie them and grab the bags of

money before fleeing.

In announcing a reward last week of $25,000 for informatio­n leading to arrests of any of the suspects, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said detectives had found connection­s between the robberies, which were committed at banks last year in Hawthorne, Inglewood and Los Angeles.

Alway said the bandits would surveil the locations, using multiple vehicles and personnel. The group had drivers who would remain in their vehicles during the robberies, he said.

Three weeks before the first holdup, at a credit union in Hawthorne, two men — believed to have been Davis and Hobson — were seen in a white Chevrolet Tahoe “for approximat­ely one hour while a future victim, J.G. — a Sectran Security Inc. driver — parked his armored car and collected cash” from ATMs, according to the criminal complaint.

A bank employee noticed the men and called police. An officer questioned the two, who provided identifica­tion with the same Chesapeake Avenue address, according to an affidavit filed with the complaint.

“Three weeks later, to the day — and almost the exact same minute — J.G. was robbed while collecting cash from the same” ATMs, Elizabeth Cardenas, an FBI special agent, said in the affidavit.

The robbers were three men who used what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, authoritie­s said. They stole the guard’s gun and about $100,000.

The crew allegedly pulled off a similar heist about half a mile away in Inglewood on June 9, stealing nearly $93,000, authoritie­s said. A vehicle matching the descriptio­n of Davis’ Tahoe was “seen leading a getaway car within 30 minutes of the robbery on a nearby Ring camera.”

According to court records, Hobson has conviction­s for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, and Davis has a conviction for receiving stolen property and possessing burglary tools.

At least five other individual­s believed to be part of the Chesapeake Bandits have yet to be identified. Surveillan­ce photos of them can be seen on the FBI’s website.

Anyone with informatio­n is urged to call the FBI. A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered in exchange for informatio­n leading to an arrest.

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