Armed robbery suspect arrested with aid of license-plate reading cameras

EL CAJON, Calif. — License-plate reading cameras aided in the arrest of the suspect in a series of armed robberies Friday night in El Cajon, authorities announced.

Around 9:02 p.m., El Cajon police received a report from an alarm company that an armed robbery had taken place at the Speedway Gas station in the 700 block of Avocado Avenue.

The suspect, who was armed with a black handgun, demanded employees hand over cash from the register before fleeing the scene, ECPD said. The employees at the station were uninjured in the incident.

According to ECPD, dispatchers received a description of the suspect in the initial report, relaying the information to responding officers. Upon arrival, officers reviewed store surveillance to confirm the description. Officers were able to match the profile of another suspect wanted in a series of armed robberies across the county, ECPD said.

A short time later, an ECPD detective was alerted from the Flock Safety ALPR cameras that the suspect’s vehicle was seen leaving the area towards Spring Valley.

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With the assistance of the San Diego County Sheriff’s ASTREA helicopter, officers initiated a high-risk traffic stop and was safely able to take the suspect into custody. Evidence from the robbery was recovered in the vehicle, ECPD said.

Detectives, with the help of San Diego police, interviewed the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Derrick Moore. According to ECPD, he allegedly gave a confession and was booked into San Diego Central Jail. Moore could face multiple charges relating to robbery.

This comes about a week after El Cajon ramped up its license plate-reading program, introducing 40 new Flock Safety ALPR cameras to streets throughout the city. The program is expected to be up and running by the end of the month, according to officials.

Since their introduction to the city, ECPD officials say these cameras have been an instrumental tool in multiple cases this year. This includes the arrest of multiple suspects and the recovery of two stolen U-Hauls.

The City of San Diego has also approved a similar “Smart Streetlights” program earlier this month, which is anticipated to be deployed early this fall.

Anyone with additional information regarding Friday’s incident is encouraged to contact the El Cajon Police Department at 619-579-3311.  Individuals with information who wish to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 888-580-8477.

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