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Early-Release Felon Tied To San Fernando Valley Robberies

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MISSION HILLS (CBS) — A career criminal who allegedly robbed six businesses in the San Fernando Valley was part of California’s early release prison program, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Francisco Gonzalez Jr., 39, was arrested Tuesday for evading police, car theft and robbery in Panorama City.

“This was not (his) first pursuit, first robbery, nor first brush with the law,” said Lt. Paul Vernon of the Mission Detective Division.

“And since this arrest, we have tied (him) to five other recent store robberies across the San Fernando Valley,” he said.

Vernon said the frustrating part was finding out the suspect was one of the early-release convicts under AB 109, which was supposed to help prison overcrowding.

He said the suspect’s release was based on a prior police pursuit conviction, without any consideration to his 1999 8-count, 13-year sentence for robbery.

Before his arrest Tuesday, Gonzalez had contact with LAPD on July 4 for altering his car registration and with CHP on July 12 in Newhall for disorderly conduct, according to the LAPD.

“So the community got a career robber released under toothless parole conditions,” Vernon said. “And just as the leopard does not change his spots, (he) went right back to his MO, robbing and evading police.”

Gonzalez is now back in jail facing new felonies.

If convicted, he could get 25 years to life in prison.

This year, the Mission Hills community has seen 146 convicts released into the area.

Twenty of those convicts have been arrested at least one time.

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