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Pacific Beach PB Hotel Robbery May Be Tied to “Random Bandit” Crime Spree

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2015 | Firm News |

Motus Operandi … modus operandi (plural modi operandi) is a Latin phrase, approximately translated as “method of operation”.[1] The term is used to describe someone’s habits of working, particularly in the context of business or criminal investigations. In English, it is often shortened to M.O.

Someone is likely going to be arrested for a San Diego Robbery.  If their description and manner or robbery fit the ones that have been occurring they can be charged with multiple crimes.  The maximum exposure for a person can be substantial.

When there is mutliple offenses someone usually gets a deal when a few of the events are dismissed.  This usually means the person is facing the maximum of at least one of the incidents.

For example, a local gym has seen a rash of thefts from a gym parking lot.  Someone gives a general description of the person who did it.  A few months later police arrest  someone on a separate theft in the parking lot.  If they fit the description of the earlier event they will be charged.  The defendant is looking at a lot more exposure because the multiple events.  The judge considers all the charges and the final resolution carries more time because of all the events.

If someone gets away from an initial crime it is not wise to continue similar crimes.  The odds are someone gets caught and those old charges may be resurrected.   You never know what kind of evidence is in law enforcements hands.  If these people are caught they will be looking at substantial jail time.

A clerk at a San Diego-area beach-side hotel was robbed at gunpoint and police are looking into the possibility that the culprits may be the so-called “Random Bandits” who have struck at least 10 times in four weeks.

Just after midnight Monday, SDPD patrol cars filled the parking lot of the Pacific Shores Inn at Mission Boulevard and Chalcedony Street just half a block from the beach.

Officers say a clerk was struck during the robbery involving three men in dark clothing and wearing masks.

The men demanded the clerk open the safe but the clerk explained that he couldn’t. Officials said the clerk was struck by the suspects but is expected to recover.

Money was taken from the hotel and the clerk’s phone was stolen.

The men escaped heading north through an alley behind the hotel, officers said.

Investigators have not determined if this is the most recent incident of the so-called “Random Bandits.”

At least 10 robberies have been reported beginning December 15, most of them in the La Jolla and Clairemont areas.

What has SDPD investigators stumped is that there appears to be no pattern in targets or time of day. Some of the robberies involved two suspects. In a few robberies, there was a third suspect.

211. Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.

The crime of robbery under California Penal Code Section 211 PC is defined broadly as a theft using force. Because robbery involves the use of force or fear, it is considered a serious felony-level offense that can result in substantial prison sentences.

To prove a defendant has committed robbery, a prosecutor must be able to prove the following elements:

  1. The defendant took property that did not belong to him or her.
  2. The property was taken from another person’s possession and immediate presence.
  3. The property was taken against that person’s will.
  4. The defendant used force or fear to take the property or to prevent the other person from resisting.
  5. AND when the defendant used force or fear to take the property, he or she intended to take it away from the other person permanently or for such an extended period of time that the owner would be deprived of the value or enjoyment of the property.

A person takes something when he or she gains possession of it and moves it some distance, however short. Even if the property is immediately returned, the defendant can still be charged with robbery.


A purse-snatcher operates by going into a crowded area and ripping purses off women’s shoulders, then running away and keeping whatever property he finds inside. This man could be prosecuted for robbery under California Penal Code Section 211 PC because he forcefully takes property from someone else.

However, in another example a pickpocket operates in a busy commercial area by carefully removing wallets and jewelry from people he brushes up against. He is able to take their property without their knowledge. While the pickpocket could be charged with a theft crime, he would be not prosecuted for robbery, as he did not use sufficient force or fear as required by Penal Code § 211.


If someone has a claim of right or an honest and reasonable belief that the property belongs to them, they would have a legal defense to any robbery charge if they use force to retrieve that property. For example, a man learns that his neighbor has stolen an expensive tool from his garage. The man sees the neighbor using the tool, confronts him and forcefully removes it from his hands. This man could not be charged with robbery because he had a claim of right to the property. However, the claim of right defense would not protect a defendant from charges of battery or criminal threats.


If the robbery was committed on the driver or passenger of a commercial vehicle, in someone’s home or on a person who has just left an ATM machine, the defendant could be charged with first degree robbery which can carry a prison sentence of up to nine years.

All other robberies are punishable by up to five years in prison. If the defendant has robbed more than one victim, he or she can be prosecuted and punished for multiple counts of robbery. If a gun was used in the robbery, the defendant can be sentenced to ten years in prison and twenty years if the gun was fired.

This offense is a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes law and any conviction can be used to enhance future sentences. A defendant convicted of robbery loses his or her ability to own or purchase firearms permanently.

Hire a Proactive, affordable, and quality defense when you are facing San Diego DUI charges. Whether you have been charged of a San Diego DUI, Poway DUI, Chula Vista DUI, La Mesa DUI, Santee DUI, Mission Valley DUI, Clairemont DUI, Point Loma DUI, La Jolla DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Mira Mesa DUI, Pacific Beach DUI, Del Mar DUI, Encinitas DUI, Oceanside DUI, Ocean Beach DUI, Escondido DUI, Vista DUI, San Marcos DUI, Carlsbad DUI, El Cajon DUI, San Diego Expungement, San Diego Bench Warrant, San Diego Failure to Appear, San Diego Restraining Orders, San Diego Terminate Probation, San Diego Minor Possession of Alcohol, San Diego Probation Violation, San Diego Prop 47, Lakeside DUI, Lemon Grove DUI, National City DUI, Cardiff DUI, Racho Santa Fe San Diego DUI, Rancho Bernardo DUI, Spring Valley DUI, Solana Beach DUI, Leucadia DUI, Golden Hills DUI, North Park DUI, Torrey Pines DUI, Eastlake DUI, Paradise Valley DUI, it is vital you need to hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case. Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation at 858-751-4384 or send an email to [email protected].

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