Irvine, Calif., May 24, 2016 – A 25-year-old Irvine man was arrested today on suspicion of committing several armed robberies in Irvine and Fullerton, police said. The suspect was identified as Joshua Benbrook.
The arrest followed two Monday holdups in Irvine, police said. In the first incident, which occurred around 6:20 p.m., police said a University of California, Irvine student walking across the Watson Bridge on campus was contacted by the suspect, who allegedly implied he had a firearm, although no weapon was shown. The suspect then instructed the student to walk to a nearby ATM to withdraw cash, stole the money, released the student and fled the scene on foot, police said.
About 15 minutes later, a motorist was waiting for a tow truck near Culver Drive and University Drive after his vehicle broke down. According to police, Benbrook pulled up behind the disabled vehicle, walked up to the victim and engaged him in conversation. Benbrook then allegedly lured the victim to the suspect’s vehicle and pulled a firearm from the glove box before stealing the victim’s wallet and cell phone and fleeing in a red sedan, authorities said.
After UCI issued a campus alert and university and Irvine police began investigating the incidents, authorities discovered Fullerton police were investigating a similar alleged robbery on March 6.
In that case, shortly before 3 a.m., Benbrook allegedly entered a convenience store in the 2700 block of West Orangethorpe Avenue, displayed a gun and robbed the clerk of food items and money. He fled in a red sedan, police said.
Benbrook was arrested Tuesday morning by Irvine police after leaving his home. Police are investigating whether he may be involved in other alleged crimes, authorities said.
No booking photo is being released at this time pending the ongoing investigation.
Anyone with additional information or who may have been a victim is encouraged to call Fullerton PD Detective Veronica Gardea at 714-738-6728, Irvine police Detective Victoria Hurtado at 949-724-7194 or UCI Police Department Detective Sergeant Charles Chon at 949-824-5223.