SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A parolee from Sacramento has been arrested as the suspect in a series of armed robberies within minutes of each other in San Francisco, police said Wednesday.
The robberies happened on December 23rd within a 7-8 block area of the Visitacion Valley neighborhood, according to San Francisco Police.READ MORE: Bay Area Health Workers Cheer Newly-Approved 1-Shot Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Officers responded at 4:17 p.m. to the unit block of Burr Ave, at 4:20 to the unit block of McCarthy Ave., and at 4:30 p.m. to the 200 block of Peabody St. to reports of armed robberies. In each case, the man pointed a gun at the victims and stole their property, including a cellphone, cash, a wallet and a purse before fleeing in a black Kia SUV.
In one case, the gunman also used his gun to hit the victim in the face before stealing his wallet, police said.
Investigators identified the suspect as Melthon Branch, 29, of Sacramento. Police said Branch is on federal probation for a firearms-related offense and state parole for burglary.READ MORE: Antioch Gas Station Shooting Leaves Man Suffering Life-Threatening Injuries
On January 7, officers began an operation to arrest Branch and serve a search warrant on his home on the 10,000 block of Lincoln Village Dr. in Rancho Cordova. While under surveillance, Branch and a female drove in the black Kia SUV from Rancho Cordova to San Francisco and stopped at Cesar Chavez St. at Indiana St. When Branch stepped out of the vehicle, he was arrested without incident, police said.
Officers recovered a handgun with an extended magazine from inside the Kia, and the search warrant at Branch’s home in Rancho Cordova yielded evidence tieing him to the San Francisco robberies, police said.
Branch was booked into San Francisco County Jail for three counts of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, No Bail Parole warrant, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, carrying a loaded firearm, and possession of a large capacity firearm magazine.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Rally in San Mateo to Denounce Violence Against Asian Americans
The investigation remained open and anyone with information about the incidents was asked to call the SFPD 24-hour tip line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.