A.V. jewelry vendor robbed at gunpoint

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A.V. jewelry vendor robbed at gunpoint

Unread post by lb516 » February 29th, 2004, 5:11 am

A.V. jewelry vendor robbed at gunpoint
Deputies chase suspects and make four arrests after woman choked during swapmeet holdup
By MIKE CRUZ/Staff Writer

Scott Smeltzer/Staff Photographer
Suspected robbers James Dorn, left, Jimmy Willis, center, and Javell Funches are lined up so witnesses can identify them on Thursday.
APPLE VALLEY — A quick response from sheriff's deputies led to the arrests of four men who may have robbed an indoor swap meet vendor on Highway 18 in Apple Valley on Thursday, officials said.

Deputy Jason Cunningham, who was in the area of the Variety Avenue Indoor Swap Meet, arrived four seconds after the call was dispatched at 2 p.m. and saw three men behind a jewelry vendor's counter, said Trish Hill, a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

The robbers held a handgun to the head of a woman behind the counter and choked her while robbing the store, officials said. The robbers reportedly spotted Cunningham and bolted out the back door into two cars that headed in different directions, Hill said.

Cunningham ran back to his patrol car, drove it around to the back of the building and followed a 1989 maroon Honda Civic with three of the robbery suspects in it, officials said. A second car, an older-model blue Chevrolet Celebrity went in the opposite direction, Hill said.

The Civic fled to an area on Osage Road, just north of Esaws Avenue, and all three occupants jumped out of the car, Hill said. Deputies chased the three men on foot, as they ran behind homes, jumped over fences and tried to elude capture, she said.

Deputies Robert Bush, Jeremy Martinez and Robert Vaccarri helped track and catch all three suspects. Deputies arrested Javell Funches, 23, and James Dorn, 27, both of Apple Valley; and Jimmy Dale Willis, 38, of Compton, Hill said.

Willis is a known Bloods gang member from Compton, officials said.

A fourth suspect, Edward Bush, 34, of Apple Valley, had driven the Celebrity and was arrested later at his home in the 20000 block of Carlisle Road, Hill said.

Inside the Civic, deputies found a .357-caliber Magnum revolver and an assortment of jewelry, such as gold earnings and bracelets, Hill said.

The unidentified robbery victim was later described by officials as shaken but OK and not requiring medical aid. No gunshots were fired, and no one was injured during the robbery.

An investigation is ongoing. As of press time, none of those arrested had been booked.

Mike Cruz can be reached at mike_cruz@link.freedom.com or 951-6276.

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