Six suspects linked to more than 20 robberies were taken into custody Friday during a SWAT standoff in the City Heights neighborhood, according to the San Diego Police Department.
SDPD said detectives near University Avenue and 36th Street recognized one of the suspects and saw them enter an apartment complex east of Cherokee Avenue at around 11 a.m.
Because the suspect went into a home, and because they are wanted in connection to some armed robberies, detectives requested SWAT support, SDPD said.
Police reported around 1 p.m. that SWAT was responding to the apartment building.
By 2:30 p.m. negotiators had contacted one suspect inside and were trying to negotiate with them to surrender. A witness told NBC 7 they heard officers telling the suspect “We know you have the merchandise.”
SWAT had established a perimeter and evacuated some neighboring apartment units to keep those residents safe, SDPD said. Snipers were seen on nearby rooftops.
Then at around 3:30 p.m., three men were seen exiting the second-story unit with their hands in the air. Police said they believed at least one more person was still inside the apartment.
At one point flashbangs were used to try and coax people out of hiding. Another man exited the apartment and surrendered to police at around 5 p.m.
SDPD said a total of eight people were taken out of the apartment unit and six of them were known suspects. The six suspects are connected to more than 20 pedestrian robberies, some armed, around the county including one Thursday evening near the campus of San Diego State University.
Police say the suspects approached pedestrians and took cell phones and necklaces. The series of robberies has been going on for a month and a half, SDPD said.
No weapons were found in the apartment but police were still searching as of 8 p.m., according to SDPD. Suspects still need to interviewed, as do victims so they can be given a chance to identify the suspects, SDPD said.
The ages of the suspects were not released.
SDPD advised the public to avoid University Ave. from 36th to 38th Street and Cherokee Avenue from between Wightman Street and Polk Avenue.
No other information was available.
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Source: NBC San Diego