A Valencia resident was robbed at knifepoint by two men in broad daylight down the street from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Monday — and one of the suspects in that crime had been released from custody less than an hour earlier, according to Sheriff’s Department arrest records.
A man and a woman sat down for outdoor dining sometime after 3:30 p.m. Monday at Saugus Cafe, the oldest still-active restaurant in Los Angeles County, which is on Railroad Avenue, a little over a mile away from the Sheriff’s Station.
As near as the victim could tell, he and his friend were the only ones in the restaurant at the time, outside of the server and the cook.
The two men walked up after the couple sat down to eat, and one man asked to borrow the male victim’s phone. The victim declined, saying he doesn’t give out his phone to people he doesn’t know. The woman he was with also refused to hand over her phone, the victim said.
The suspect then walked toward his alleged accomplice who was standing by the front door of the restaurant.
The suspect then walked back toward the table and said, “he didn’t want to do this the hard way” while showing the victim a pocket knife clipped to the suspect’s belt loop, according to the victim, who asked not to be identified.
After grabbing the victim’s phone and dialing a number, the suspect then told the victim, “If she doesn’t answer, it’s on you.”
The call went unanswered and, at that point, the suspect “lost it,” according to the victim, grabbing both of the phones, divvying them up between the two and then taking off down Railroad Avenue.
The victims then went inside the restaurant and contacted the Sheriff’s Station, and deputies arrived within “about 15 seconds,” according to the victim.
After swarming the scene, according to the victim, the deputies were able to catch up with one of the suspects, Alfredo Alvarez, who had the woman’s phone, which was returned.
Alvarez, 25, is listed as a transient, but also has a Newhall address, according to arrest records. Alvarez has been arrested 11 times since February 2020, according to Sheriff’s Department arrest records.
Records indicate Alvarez’ most recent previous arrest took place the morning of the knifepoint robbery. Sheriff’s Station records indicate Alvarez was arrested shortly after midnight Monday morning after deputies encountered Alvarez near Railroad Avenue and 13th Street, where he was suspected to be under the influence of a “(central nervous system) stimulant,” according to Sheriff’s Station officials. He officially was released from custody at 3:54 p.m. Monday, around the time the victims were sitting down to eat.
Alvarez was also arrested in December 2017 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon that took place outside of Dooley’s Liquor, several blocks away from Saugus Cafe, according to previous news reports and sheriff’s officials, and picked up again then again the following December by the Crime Impact Team in December 2018 during an around-the-clock crime-suppression operation.
The male victim was not as lucky and was unable to immediately recover his phone. However, shortly after speaking to The Signal for this story, using the “Find My iPhone” app, he was able to track the phone to the intersection of Mt. Vernon and Highway 58 in Bakersfield at around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
When he contacted the SCV Sheriff’s Station, he was asked to alert law enforcement officials in Bakersfield as it’s in their jurisdiction. The victim indicated officials there were not interested in following up on his information.
Alvarez was being held Tuesday in lieu of $100,000 bail. He’s due in court in San Fernando on Wednesday morning. The whereabouts of his alleged accomplice are not known at this time, per Sheriff’s Station officials.