Cozymel's Coastal Mex in La Jolla is Latest Victim in String of Robberies by "Random Bandits"

January 26, 2015

Cozymel's Coastal Mexican restaurant, located at 4303 La Jolla Village Drive in Westfield UTC in La Jolla, is the most recent victim of armed robbery in a series of up to fourteen robberies that have occurred in San Diego since December 15, 2014. A masked gunman entered the restaurant and held up an employee on the early hours of Monday, January 26.

Cozymel's employee reported that the single suspect entered after the restaurant had closed using a side door just after midnight. The man, wearing a black hoodie, white bandana and jeans, armed with a handgun, demanded money. Nobody was hurt, but the robber took an undisclosed amount of cash before leaving.

On January 19, three men held up Pacific Shores Inn, located at 4802 Mission Boulevard in Pacific Beach. The hotel clerk was unable to open the safe as demanded, so the gunmen took his cell phone and one of the gunmen hit the clerk on the head with his gun. The robbers also took an unknown amount of money from the clerk and robbed two other people who were in the hotel lobby before fleeing down a nearby alley.

On January 14, a Little Caesars in Rancho Bernardo and Yakitori Yakyudori in Kearny Mesa were both robbed at gunpoint. In the Yakitori incident, a gunmen also pistol-whipped an employee before taking off with money, similar to the robbery of Pacific Shores Inn.

According to a San Diego Police Department Bulletin released on January 12, the suspects in this series of robberies have shown no consistent pattern in the type of business they target or how many suspects enter the business during the robbery, and this randomness has resulted in some dubbing the robbers as the "Random Bandits." They have committed robberies with one, two and three suspects entering the victim business, sometimes armed with a handgun, knife, or combination of handgun, knife and unarmed. Suspects were armed with at least one handgun in all of the robberies. Their clothing has been described as monochromatic, lacking any insignias or designs, generally wearing dark colored hoodies or long sleeve shirts. 

The list of robberies possibly attributable to the "Random Bandits" include:

1. 12/15/14, at 11:30pm, Lincoln Tax Services, 3944 Illinois Street;
2. 12/16/14, at 8:32pm, Living Spinal, 7340 Trade Street, Unit F;
3. 12/16/14, at 9:15pm, La Jolla Village Lodge, 1141 Silverado Street;
4. 12/17/14, at 7:15pm, The Wineding Shoe a Salon & lounge, 3603 4th Avenue;
5. 12/17/14, at 9:25pm, Los 2 Pedros Taco Shop, 723 Turquoise Street;
6. 12/23/14, at 8:50pm, Sands of La Jolla, 5417 La Jolla Blvd;
7. 12/23/14, at 10:08pm, Subway, 3445 Midway Drive;
8. 12/27/14, at 8:30pm, Saracia Shannahan, 1100 Silverado (also an attempted Pedestrian Robbery);
9. 12/27/14, at 8:47pm, Shakeaway, 723 Pearl Street;
10. 1/05/15, at 9:50pm, Home Bar Liquor, 3550 Ashford Street;
11. 1/14/15, at 10:30pm, Little Caesars, 16477 Bernardo Center Drive;
12. 1/14/15, at 11:47pm, Yakitori Yakyudori, 4898 Convoy Street;
13. 1/19/15, at 12:08am, Pacific Shores Inn, 4802 Mission Boulevard;
14. 1/26/15, at 12:14am, Cozymel's Coastal Mex, 4303 La Jolla Village Drive.

Anyone with information about these robberies are asked to contact Detective John Smith at the San Diego Police Robbery Unit at 619-531-2288. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.