RIVERSIDE, California – A Riverside County man who allegedly wore medical masks over his face during a month-long robbery spree of Inland Empire pharmacies was indicted today on federal criminal charges.
David Anthony Battle, 50, of Moreno Valley, is charged in a federal grand jury indictment with six counts of interference with commerce by robbery (Hobbs Act robbery) and two counts of attempted Hobbs Act robbery.
Battle was arrested by local law enforcement on August 10 and was transferred over to federal custody on August 23. He has been ordered jailed without bond while he awaits trial. His arraignment is scheduled for October 13 in United States District Court in Riverside.
According to the indictment, from July 6 to August 4, Battle robbed six pharmacies in Moreno Valley, Colton and San Bernardino. He allegedly attempted to rob two other Moreno Valley pharmacies on July 10 and August 10.
During each incident, Battle allegedly wore similar clothing – including wearing medical masks covering his nose and mouth – and used a similar method of brandishing what appeared to be a handgun by pulling it out from his waistband and holding it at his side. He then demanded that money in the cash register be placed in a bag and handed over, according to an affidavit filed with the complaint in this case.
Law enforcement reviewed store surveillance videos, which led them to arrest Battle, court documents state. During Battle’s arrest, a black BB-gun-style pistol was found on the ground near him, the affidavit states.
Battle allegedly netted $5,453 in illicit gains from the robberies, though $3,200 of that came from the July 6 robbery of a Walgreens store in Moreno Valley.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of all charges, Battle would face a statutory maximum sentence of 160 years in federal prison.
The FBI, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the San Bernardino Police Department, and the Colton Police Department investigated this matter.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Dahlquist of the Riverside Branch Office.