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California serial thief known as 'Blue Cloth Bandit' arrested in connection to 68 armed robberies

Los Angeles police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a serial robber known as the "Blue Cloth Bandit."

Charles Chukwuma Onwuemelie, 26, is accused of a total 68 armed robberies that have occurred throughout the LA area since October 2021, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

Onwuemelie allegedly "used a blue cloth to cover the handgun used in the robberies that occurred at gas stations, 7-11s and Walmarts," LAPD said in a press release.

"The suspect would conceal himself by wearing different hats, a face mask, and rubber gloves," LAPD said. "The same vehicle was used in many of the robberies, and the same suspect was linked to the robberies based on several factors."

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Los Angeles police on Wednesday arrested the 'Blue Cloth Bandit.'

Los Angeles police on Wednesday arrested the 'Blue Cloth Bandit.' (LAPD)

Onwuemelie's latest attempt occurred on Sept. 23, when detectives crafted a plan to initiate surveillance and serve a search warrant.

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Surveillance footage released by the LAPD shows the suspect appearing to purchase items at a convenience store before he reveals his alleged weapon covered by a blue cloth. He can also be seen wearing blue gloves and a hat that conceals his face in the video.

Police recovered a firearm and other evidence from the scene of Onwuemelie's latest alleged robbery linking him to the crime.

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The suspect is charged with 16 counts of robbery that allegedly occurred within LA city limits, though officials expect the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department to file additional charges for numerous other robberies that apparently occurred within the county.

Charles Chukwuma Onwuemelie, 26, is accused of 68 robberies in and around LA.

Charles Chukwuma Onwuemelie, 26, is accused of 68 robberies in and around LA. (LAPD)

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the string of robberies to contact Detective Esther Myape at (213) 486-6840.

Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for FOX Business and Fox News. Email tips to audrey.conklin@fox.com or on Twitter at @audpants.