A suspect wanted in connection with a series of three armed robberies at ATMs in Santee and El Cajon has been arrested with the help of social media.
Suspect George Adams, 23, was taken into custody Wednesday evening in the 9600 block of Mission Gorge Rd.
Detectives had been searching for Adams, who was caught on surveillance tape robbing several victims between Jan. 16 and Jan. 21 at ATMs.
According to investigators, the first robbery happened Jan. 16 at around 11 p.m. when Adams approached a male victim who was trying to withdraw money from an ATM at a Mission Federal Credit Union located at 245 Town Center Parkway in Santee.
Armed with a handgun, Adams allegedly forced the victim to withdraw the maximum amount of money from the ATM. He then grabbed the cash and took off in a car in an unknown direction.
On Monday at around 1:30 p.m., Adams struck again at the very same ATM in Santee.
In that case, detectives say the suspect approached a woman who was trying to complete at transaction at the Mission Federal Credit Union. Adams allegedly placed a hand into his waistband to indicate he had a weapon and ordered the woman to withdraw money from the ATM.
The woman did not comply and ran to her car. Adams did not receive any money from the victim, who told detectives she saw him flee the scene in an older model white car. In both Santee cases, Adams was caught on surveillance tape.
Then, on that same day just before 8 p.m., a third similar incident was reported.
Detectives say a suspect matching the same description as the man caught on surveillance tape in Santee approached a victim from behind at a Wells Fargo ATM located at 2398 Jamacha Road in unincorporated El Cajon.
The suspect was armed with a handgun and demanded money from the victim. He grabbed the cash and drove away.
On Wednesday detectives released surveillance photos of the three-time ATM robbery suspect. Officials described him as a Hispanic man between 20 and 30 years old.
Officials shared the photos of the suspect and information about the robberies on the Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page and soon received a tip from a woman who recognized the man as Adams.
The woman told deputies she had seen Adams outside a restaurant offering repairs on cars. He had given his name and number to the woman.
With the tipster’s help, detectives set up a meeting with Adams which then led to his arrest.
Officials say this case is a prime example of how the public can help authorities by being good witnesses and reporting suspicious information to officials via social networks or tip lines.
As for Adams, he’s currently being held on $400,000 bail in San Diego Central Jail on four counts of robbery. He’s scheduled to appear in court Friday.