Two men, Jonathan Cephus, 36, and Melvin Collins, 33, are allegedly responsible for a long list of robberies that began on July 5, 2013. Cephus held up a Little Caesars in Fullerton, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon.
Cephus later pistol-whipped a man as he robbed a Del Taco in Anaheim on July 22nd. On July 26th, Cephus robbed a Jack in Box in Anaheim and on August 28th Cephus again robbed a Jack in the Box in Anaheim, Zimmon said.
Four more robberies took place on September 2, 2013. The first one happened at 7 a.m. at a Burger King in Buena Park, but Collins got scared away when the clerk mentioned that there were many surveillance cameras in the store, According to Zimmon.
The two men continued on to rob several more Orange County businesses – pepper spraying and zip tying some of the victims involved in the robberies – until a keen security guard saw the two men dump a shirt and a Pittsburgh Pirates’ baseball hat after one of their robberies. This provided a clue to the investigators who began surveillance on Collins, Zimmon said. That surveillance allowed the police to catch Cephus, Collins, and a female getaway driver in the act of robbing the Make a Deal pawnshop on Magnolia Ave, on September 20, 2013.
Cephus and Collins plead guilty on Tuesday to multiple robbery charges, false imprisonment, and assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The two men accepted a plea deal that will help them avoid a third strike, which would give them automatic life sentences.
It is expected that Cephus and Collins will be sentenced to 29 and 24 years, respectively.
If you or someone you love is suspected of robbery, assault with any weapon, or false imprisonment, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.