Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Tagger crew accused in at least 22 armed robberies of taco trucks

August 6, 2009 |  2:02 pm


A tagger crew has robbed at least 22 taco truck vendors at gunpoint over the last two months along busy commercial streets in the Eastside.

The robberies have rattled the taco truck community, and officials said some vendors have been reluctant to report them for fear of retaliation from the perpetrators and possible immigration problems from authorities. As a result, detectives believe there may be more unreported robberies.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department today sought the public’s help in tracking down a 21-year-old man it says is connected to the robberies.

Sgt. Ruben Nava said Nery Perez of East Los Angeles was tied to at least 22 robberies of taco truck vendors along Whittier Boulevard, Olympic Boulevard and Cesar Chavez Ave.

 “He’s got green eyes and a tattoo of a bat on the right of his neck,” Nava said. “He has a very distinctive look.”

Perez is 5 feet 8 and weighs 160 pounds. His last known address was in Downey, authorities said. Nava said investigators were working with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck Division, where seven other robberies similar to those in East Los Angeles were committed. Perez, a member of a tagging crew “Fearless Kings” that has now, as a result of the robberies, been upgraded to gang status.

Investigators believe Perez and four other members of the tagging crew were committing at least two to three robberies a day. Nava estimated total losses at $7,000.

The vendors who were robbed belonged to the Assn. of Lunch Trucks of Los Angeles, said the group's spokesman, Alfredo Magallanes. Investigators said they have arrested four of the suspects: Samuel Razo, 20: Miguel Torres and Julio Osuna, both 21; and Jesse Moreno, 18.

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: A taco truck sits on Olympic Blvd. in East Los Angeles.  Credit: Alex Gallardo/Los Angeles Times