A Hayward man was arrested for allegedly robbing at least six East Bay businesses between Dec. 26 and Feb. 18 and shooting a store clerk during one robbery, a police spokesman said.Charles Jones, 35, was arrested on Tuesday at his home in the 200 block of Willow Avenue, Sgt. Steve Brown said.Police received an anonymous tip that Jones might have been responsible for the robberies and set up surveillance at his last known residence, Brown said.As police watched, Jones drove toward his home, stopped his vehicle, got out, and tinkered under the hood of the car, according to Brown.He then got back in the car and drove to his residence, where he was arrested without incident. Police later found a handgun hidden in the engine compartment of his car, Brown said. The gun appears to be the same weapon used in several of the robberies.Jones was positively identified through video surveillance and photo lineups as the suspect who robbed six businesses in Hayward, Oakland, San Leandro and unincorporated Hayward, according to Brown.He routinely targeted smoke shops and cell phone stores, Brown said. Jones would allegedly enter the store wearing all black clothing, point a handgun at the clerk, demand money from the cash register, and leave.He was charged with nine counts of felony armed robbery, one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of felony kidnapping. The assault with a deadly weapon stemmed from a Dec. 26 robbery in which Jones allegedly shot a store clerk, who survived the incident. The kidnapping charges were related to two incidents in which Jones allegedly forced store clerks to open their safes.”Once someone is ordered to change location and proximity to the suspect, it’s a kidnapping,” Brown said. “(Kidnapping) is ordering someone to physically do something using force, fear, or intimidation.”Police believe Jones was robbing the businesses to support a drug habit, Brown said. Many of the stores only kept a few hundred dollars on site at a time.On Jan. 26, a clerk resisted Jones’ threats, so he left the store without taking anything. Twenty minutes later, he robbed another business 2 miles away while police were investigating the first robbery.”That’s pretty brazen,” Brown said. Jones is accused of robbing the following Hayward businesses: World Wireless, located at 1984 B St., on Jan. 4; a cigarettes dealer at 26905 Mission Blvd. on Jan. 26; ASAP Wireless at 24475 Mission Blvd. on Jan. 26; and Cigarette City at 1960 B St. on Jan. 28. He also allegedly robbed the MacArthur Smoke Shop at 9925 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland on Dec. 28 and the Gift Smoke Shop at 10831 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland. Police are asking anyone with information about these robberies or similar incidents to call Hayward police Detective Bill Alexander at (510) 293-7121.
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