A Los Angeles man accused in a robbery spree at gas stations and fast-food restaurants throughout Orange County, using what turned out to be a replica handgun, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to robbery and other charges.
Emanuel Demar Banks, 38, is charged with seven counts of robbery and one count of criminal threats, along with seven misdemeanor counts of brandishing a replica gun.
He was ordered to return to court Dec. 20 for a pretrial hearing at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.
Banks was taken into custody about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday outside a Gardena hotel where he was staying, said Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department. She said police recovered evidence in his room allegedly linking him to the robberies that occurred between Saturday morning and Monday afternoon in Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Tustin and Westminster.
Two heists occurred Saturday morning: at a 7-Eleven store in Garden Grove at 12752 Brookhurst St. about 4:45 a.m. and around an hour later at a Chevron station at 400 E. 17th St. in Santa Ana.
At the 7-Eleven, he “took a Gatorade out, had some cash in hand and — same element as the other ones — walks up to pay … and as soon as the register is open he displays a handgun and got away with cash,” said Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney.
Four holdups happened on Sunday, at a Chevron gas station at Alton Parkway and Jeffrey Road in Irvine at 7:40 p.m.; a McDonald’s restaurant at 2452 Bryan Ave. in Tustin about 8:30 p.m.; a Carl’s Jr. in Huntington Beach at 9022 Adams Ave. around 10 p.m.; and at a store inside an Arco gas station at 3201 Harbor Blvd. in Costa Mesa at 10:35 p.m.
He’s also suspected of robbing a Shell gas station about 1:30 p.m. Monday at 8990 Bolsa Ave in Westminster.
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