On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that an armed robber known as the 'Blue Cloth Bandit' was arrested. He was charged with at least 16 counts of robbery by the department's Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD).
The suspect, identified as Charles Chukwuma Onwuemelie, was accused of carrying out an astonishing 68 armed robberies between October 2021 and September 2022. He was charged with 16 counts of robbery that occurred within the city limits of LA. Additional charges are expected to be filed by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department for robberies that took place throughout the county.
In a press release, the Los Angeles Police Department said that investigators on the case attributed all 68 robberies to the same suspect and that they occurred throughout Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles. It further noted that investigators from RHD were investigating the 16 robberies that took place within the LA City limits.
Onwuemelie, dubbed the 'Blue Cloth Bandit,' was caught in surveillance footage revealing his firearm wrapped in a blue cloth at the cash counter. The video, released by the LAPD, also shows him covering his face with a hat while he's wearing blue gloves.
Since he would hide his weapon in a blue cloth in most of the robberies, he was dubbed the 'Blue Cloth Bandit.' His robberies usually took place at gas stations, 7-11s and local Walmarts.
The Quartz Hill resident was apprehended by the police from his house.
LAPD had an elaborate plan to catch the 'Blue Cloth Bandit'
Onwuemelie's habit of wrapping his weapon in a blue cloth during his expeditions not only gave him the moniker 'Blue Cloth Bandit' but also led to his arrest. Over the past year, he allegedly pulled off over 60 armed robberies, and it was only after certain connections were made that the LAPD considered him to be a suspect.
In a press release, the LAPD said:
"The suspect would conceal himself by wearing different hats, a face mask, and rubber gloves. The same vehicle was used in many of the robberies, and the same suspect was linked to the robberies based on several factors."
On September 23, the Blue Cloth Bandit made his last robbery attempt. It was then that detectives "formulated" a plan, began surveillance, and served a search and arrest warrant successfully. The LAPD arrested Charles Chukwuma Onwuemelie at his house in Quartz Hill.
Police also found several firearms at the residence that linked him to the numerous LA robberies.
As of now, authorities have asked anyone with further information on Charles to contact Detective Esther Myape at (213) 486-6840, or call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.