Man accused in string of Chula Vista robberies charged with five other crimes in 2015

CHULA VISTA (KUSI) — A man accused, with his cousin, of robbing teenage pedestrians in Chula Vista last year was charged Monday with committing five additional holdups in 2015.

Nicholas Solorio, 23, was arrested late last month and charged with robbing four pedestrians and trying to rob a fifth in western Chula Vista over a period of several weeks dating back to Nov. 28. His cousin, 31-year-old Malaefono Sula, was also charged in the robbery spree.

Solorio now faces additional charges stemming from five robberies between Oct. 21, 2015, and Nov. 14, 2015. Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde said new evidence allegedly links Solorio to the older crimes.

Solorio and Sula were arrested Dec. 28, one day after the latest crime, according to Chula Vista police Capt. Vern Sallee. During questioning, both allegedly admitted to their involvement in the string of robberies last year.

The suspects targeted young people walking alone in western Chula Vista, Sallee alleged.

On Dec. 27, one of the suspects hopped out of a red SUV in the vicinity of Twin Oaks Avenue and I Street, grabbed a 16-year-old boy by the hand and demanded he turn over his phone, the captain alleged.

The teen punched the suspect in the face and ran off. He reported the crime and was able to provide police with a description of the suspects and their vehicle, along with its Nevada license plate number, according to Sallee.

In each of the previous robberies, the victims described two heavyset men in a red SUV, one of whom approached them and demanded their property. They took cell phones, a wallet, cash and other items.

On Dec. 2, a 16-year-old boy was threatened with a knife during a robbery in the 700 block of Fifth Avenue. A suspect claimed to be armed with a gun while robbing another 16-year-old boy in the 100 block of Telegraph Road the same day, as well as in a similar holdup targeting a 17-year-old girl in the 1400 block of Tobias Drive on Dec. 1, according to Sallee.

No weapon was seen in the first robbery; that victim was 21 years old.

Solorio and Sula will be back in court Feb. 8 for a readiness conference and Feb. 15 for a preliminary hearing.

Solorio faces a maximum of 13 years and six months if convicted. Sula’s maximum punishment would be seven years and 10 months behind bars if he’s found guilty.

Categories: Local San Diego News