Sheriff’s investigators said Thursday they viewed dashboard camera footage to quickly identify a 26-year-old probationer accused in a brazen armed robbery and assault of a Lyft driver at a gas station in South El Monte, then used phone records to locate and arrest him.
The attack occurred at 9:20 p.m. May 11 at the Arco station at Rush Street and Rosemead Boulevard.
The robbery and beating was captured on the driver’s dashboard camera, and the footage — which was released last Thursday, prompting tips from the public — shows a man in the car’s back seat wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates cap and holding a handgun. The man is seen arguing with the 67-year-old driver for more than one minute.
The robber demanded money and then grabbed the driver’s cellphone. He then apparently tried to get the driver to leave the car so he could steal it, but the driver persuaded him not to do so.
The driver eventually handed over his wallet, which held more than $1,500. Twice during the robbery, the man hit the driver in the face with a gun, leaving him with a bruised and bloody nose.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Richard Lewis said that within an hour of viewing the video evidence, detectives were able to make a strong assumption on the robber’s identity.
“Utilizing past records of this individual, booking photos and things of that nature, we came up with a positive identification of who this individual was,” Lewis said.
Lewis said detectives used search warrants for telephone records and usage to locate and conduct surveillance on the suspect, identified as Dandre Lorenz Powell of Downey. Officers later observed the man leaving a residence and performed a traffic stop to take him into custody.
Powell’s arrest came after a multi-day effort involving cooperation with outside agencies, said Temple Station Capt. Mark Reyes.
“Detectives worked around the clock to locate the suspect,” he said. “They authored search warrants, conducted searches at various locations and within five days of learning of the crime, through a collaborative with the United States Marshal’s Office, the suspect… was arrested and found to be in possession of another firearm.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters the suspect, who’s been held in lieu of $2 million bail, “has an extensive criminal history, is known to law enforcement and is currently on probation.”
Investigators asked anyone who may have been victimized by the suspect to contact the LASD Temple Station at 626-285-7171.