Teen Arrested - Photo courtesy of Sascha Burkard on Shutterstock

A 19-year-old man accused of luring multiple victims to locations in Moreno Valley on the pretext of completing sales transactions, then stealing from them at gunpoint, was charged Friday with four counts of armed robbery.

Marvin Owen Haywood of Moreno Valley was arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside Wednesday following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation.

The defendant, who is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, was slated to make his initial court appearance Friday at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Martinez, the first alleged holdup occurred on the afternoon of Dec. 17 in the 24100 block of Cottonwood Avenue, near Heacock Street.

Martinez said that a resident went to the location after receiving a request from Haywood to purchase an item listed by the victim for sale via an online marketplace.

“After presenting the item … he was robbed of the item at gunpoint,” the sergeant said.

He alleged that Haywood fled immediately afterward, and the man, whose identity was not disclosed, called 911. Deputies searched the area without success.

According to Martinez, in the ensuing six days, three additional holdups involving online sellers at various locations citywide occurred — all bearing circumstances analogous to the first robbery.

No one was injured during the holdups.

Detectives ultimately identified Haywood as the alleged perpetrator and tracked him down at JFK Drive and Perris Boulevard, where he was taken into custody without incident.

“(Investigators) subsequently served a search warrant at Haywood’s residence in the 15100 block of Perris, where items related to the robberies were located,” Martinez said.

It was unclear whether other holdups allegedly involving the defendant may have occurred but went unreported.

Haywood has no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions in Riverside County.

Martinez said that the robberies serve as a reminder of the importance of residents utilizing designated “safe exchange” locations, such as the parking lot of the Moreno Valley sheriff’s station, to conduct private sales transactions.

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