A man pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges stemming from a series of robberies of taco vendors at six locations in Los Angeles within a two-hour period last week.
Stayshawn Stephens, 26, of Los Angeles, is charged with 12 felony counts of second-degree robbery involving the hold-ups last Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park and east Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Three people dressed in black clothing brandished handguns and, on one occasion, a knife, and searched the victims’ pockets, stole tip jars and fled in a Honda Civic, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Stephens was identified as one of the suspects who was allegedly involved in the series of robberies, while an investigation is continuing into the other suspects, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
He was arrested last Thursday by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division and has remained behind bars since then, according to jail records.
“The ongoing violence targeting street vendors will not be tolerated,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement announcing the charges.
“These coordinated armed robberies on vulnerable individuals simply striving to earn a living are abhorrent.”
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