Sheriff Alex Villanueva and other department officials on Monday announced the arrest of a suspect in the Rowland Heights robbery.

Rafu Wire and Staff Reports

ROWLAND HEIGHTS — A man was in custody in the armed robbery of two people outside a 99 Ranch Market in Rowland Heights in July, and an accomplice was being sought, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

Demoryie Watts, 21, was arrested on Friday and booked on suspicion of felony armed robbery, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva and other officials. He was being held on $150,000 bail.

The crime occurred on July 9 in the parking lot of the market in Mandarin Plaza on Nogales Street. The victims, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s whose names have not been made public, had finished shopping and were loading items into their car when they were confronted by two armed men and suffered minor injuries. The man’s Rolex watch, valued at $60,000, was stolen.

The attack was captured on surveillance video, which was circulated on social media. Capt. Steven Ruiz of the department’s Major Crimes Bureau said that the video provided “one of the pieces of the puzzle” and helped solve the case. The lead demonstrated “the importance of the community working with law enforcement,” he said.

Personnel from the Major Crimes Bureau and the Special Enforcement Bureau served warrants in Los Angeles and Lancaster early Friday morning and arrested Watts at a residence in the 45000 block of Spearman Avenue in Lancaster, according to the department.

Department officials said they believe Watts and his partner — whose name was not released — were involved in several other crimes throughout the county, including a carjacking.

Jorge Valdez, chief of the East Patrol Division, said that the Rolex has not been recovered and noted that such “assets” are often “liquidated” immediately after being stolen.

Since the victims are Asian and the robbery occurred outside a market serving the Asian community, some see the incident as a possible hate crime. However, Valdez said, “Right now there is nothing to indicate that the suspect was motivated by hate.”

The press conference was conducted with translation in Mandarin provided.

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