Irvine Police Department Press Release

Farrah Emami - Public Information Officer
1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606



PRESS RELEASE #05-31-2016
Subject :

Police Seek Public’s Help Identifying Potential Additional Victims of Man Arrested for Armed Robberies in Irvine and Fullerton
Contact :Farrah Emami, Public Information Officer    949-724-7112

Irvine, CA – Law enforcement is seeking the public's help identifying potential additional victims of a man arrested for a series of armed robberies in Irvine and Fullerton. The suspect is identified as Joshua Benbrook, 25, of Irvine.  

This case is being jointly investigated by the Fullerton Police Department (FPD), Irvine Police Department (IPD) and University of California, Irvine Police Department (UCIPD). On May 24, 2016, the suspect was arrested for three robberies and the investigating agencies issued a press release regarding Benbrook’s case. He was subsequently linked to a fourth incident involving an attempted robbery. 

At approximately 6:20 p.m. on May 23, 2016, a UCI student was walking across the Watson Bridge on campus and was contacted by the suspect, who implied he was armed with a firearm. The suspect did not show the weapon. Benbrook instructed the student to walk to a nearby ATM to withdraw cash. The suspect then stole the money, released the victim and fled the scene on foot.

Several minutes after the first robbery, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Benbrook approached a male victim outside of a restaurant on the UCI campus. The suspect demanded money and threatened to harm the victim if he did not comply. The suspect did not show a weapon. The victim quickly entered the restaurant and Benbrook followed, shouting at the victim from the doorway. He then fled the scene without obtaining any money from the victim.   

Approximately 5 minutes later, at 6:35 p.m., a motorist was waiting for a tow truck in the area of Culver Drive and University Drive after his vehicle broke down. The suspect pulled up behind the disabled vehicle, walked up to the victim and engaged him in conversation. Benbrook lured the victim back to the suspect’s vehicle and then brandished a firearm from the glove box. Benbrook stole the victim’s wallet and cell phone and fled the scene in a red sedan. 

UCI issued a campus alert and IPD and UCIPD began investigating these incidents. It was determined that FPD was investigating a similar robbery in Fullerton.

On March 6, 2016, at approximately 2:50 a.m., the suspect entered a convenience store in the 2700 block of West Orangethorpe Avenue. He brandished a firearm and robbed the teller of food items and money. Benbrook fled the scene in a red sedan. FPD provided information from their investigation to IPD and the agencies began a collaborative investigation. Benbrook was arrested by IPD leaving his home in Irvine on May 24, 2016.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information or who may have been a victim is encouraged to call FPD Detective Veronica Gardea at 714-738-6728, IPD Detective Victoria Hurtado at 949-724-7194 or UCIPD Detective Sergeant Charles Chon at 949-824-5223.  


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(949) 724-7000

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