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Homeless Chico man charged by DA for 9 counts of robbery

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Homeless Chico man charged by DA for 9 counts of robbery

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - A homeless Chico man was formally charged by the Butte County District Attorney for nine counts of second-degree robbery and one count of resisting police.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said 23-year-old Robert Studdard was formally charged after he appeared in court on Tuesday for arraignment.

Studdard was arrested on Friday by officers with the Chico Police Department following a robbery of a gas station. When officers ordered him to stop running after robbing the gas station Friday, he continued to run and was arrested at gunpoint.

Police found a large amount of money and a replica gun on him at the time of the arrest.

Ramsey said a dispatcher received a call from an anonymous cellphone caller who reported there was a “man with a gun” at a Chico market on Mangrove Avenue.

The dispatcher suspected it was a trick to have police resources moved away from the robbery of the Sinclair gas station in West Chico. So, the dispatcher sent additional resources to the gas station and Studdard was arrested.

RELATED: Police: probable cause armed robbery suspect is responsible for 9 robberies

The investigation began as a string of robberies started in Chico in late December.

The clerk told officers that someone believed the same person robbed the gas station several days earlier but there were no reports to 911.

After reviewing video surveillance, police determined that the suspect appeared to be the same person. Ramsey said detectives identified Studdard as a likely suspect of the other convenience stores.

In each case, he carried what appeared to be a black pistol and a distinctive backpack, Ramsey said. There was also a clear pattern of how Studdard committed the robberies.

Ramsey said Studdard would enter the business, approach the clerk, forces them to empty the register and take off on a bicycle.

At one point, Studdard robbed multiple businesses within a 24-hour period, Ramsey said.

When police identified Studdard as a prime suspect, they were unable to find him due to him moving around frequently as police say he was homeless.

Officers searched his tent that was located at 9th St. and Hazel St. which revealed clothing that was captured on video during the other robberies. They also found stolen property, like serialized lottery tickets.

Studdard was ordered to be held without bail and he faced up to 13 years in state prison. The case was continued to Thursday for further arraignment.

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