January 14, 2004



A suspect believed responsible for a series of armed robberies in the City of Lodi was arrested today in Concord.  Joseph Christopher Velasco, a 23-year-old resident of Concord, was arrested at about 7:30 this morning at his home in that city.  A team of Concord and Pleasant Hill police personnel made the arrest, while Pittsburg, Antioch and Lodi detectives stood by to interview the suspect.  The task force was formed after investigative work linked robberies in all five cities.  Leads are actively being pursued in an attempt to recover the weapon used in the crimes.


Velasco is not known to have any ties to Lodi. He is believed to be responsible for a series of five armed holdups in Lodi that began on November 30, and included two Blockbuster Video stores and a Hollywood Video, a Payless Shoe Source, and a Subway sandwich shop.  He has been booked at Pleasant Hill PD on what will likely be a dozen or more counts of Robbery (Penal Code section 211) including those from all involved jurisdictions.  Other enhancement charges are likely.  Arrest, booking, and court appearance information should be obtained from Pleasant Hill PD.


Photos of Velasco will not be released until remaining witnesses are located and photo identifications attempted, which is expected within the day.  The cooperation of the media is requested in this process.  A followup release will be sent with photo(s) as soon as possible.


Persons with information on this suspect are encouraged to call the Lodi Police Department at 209-333-6727.  Persons may also call anonymously to Lodi Area Crimestoppers at 209-333-6771, and may be eligible for a cash reward.