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Gang member convicted of several Valley armed robberies

October 19, 2012 |  2:42 pm

A Pacoima gang member was convicted Friday of committing several armed robberies in the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said. 

It took a jury at the Van Nuys Superior Court less than a day to find 19-year-old David Cesar Santos guilty of all charges, including assault on a peace officer, six counts of second-degree robbery and one count of attempted second-degree robbery, as well as special gun and gang allegations, prosecutors said in a statement.

Undercover Glendale police detectives on surveillance apprehended Santos and co-defendant Christopher Rosalio Morales, 23, in June 2011 after officers saw an armed robbery taking place around 4:15 p.m. at Sylvan Street and Colfax Avenue.

Upon spotting the detectives, Santos and Morales tried to flee in a Chrysler PT Cruiser but their path was blocked by unmarked police vehicles, according to the statement. 

Santos rammed the Cruiser into a detective’s car, prompting officers to open fire, wounding Santos, the statement said.

He and Morales were subsequently charged with a series of armed robberies that occurred around the San Fernando Valley between November 2010 and June 2011, officials said.

Before the start of trial, Morales pleaded no contest to seven counts of second-degree robbery and one count of attempted second-degree robbery in an open plea to the court, authorities said.

He and Santos are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 2; each faces 45 years in state prison, according to the D.A.’s office.


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-- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita