Austin GameStop robbery suspect arrested in New Mexico
A 27-year-old man suspected of more than 20 robberies in three states — including four GameStop stores in the Austin area — has been arrested in New Mexico, police said Thursday.
Christopher D. Perea, 27, was taken into custody in Albuquerque on Friday. Aggravated robbery charges from a June 27 robbery in Sunset Valley were filed in Travis County courts Wednesday, according to an arrest affidavit.
Austin police Sgt. Blake Johnson said Perea remains in police custody in Albuquerque, where he is from.
Police have accused Perea of robbing six businesses in the Austin area in late June and early July, including four GameStop locations, a Subway sandwich shop and a Radio Shack. He also has been tied to robberies in Aurora, Colo., and Albuquerque.
The affidavit said Johnson committed each robbery in the same manner — by displaying a black airsoft pellet gun in his waistband and demanding cash. Austin police said last month that the suspect never lost his calm demeanor, even when pulling the gun and ordering customers to the ground.
The affidavit said that Albuquerque detectives contacted Austin police July 16, saying similar robberies occurred there in May. A victim in one of those robberies knew Perea and provided his identity to Albuquerque police, the affidavit said.
Johnson said investigators think that after Perea committed the robberies in Albuquerque, he came to Austin and robbed six stores here before driving to Aurora, Colo., where he committed similar crimes. Perea then returned to Albuquerque, Johnson said. He said no one was injured in any of the robberies.
The break in the case came when Albuquerque officers found Perea in a vehicle Friday after they say he attempted suicide and recognized him from the surveillance videos, Johnson said.
Perea remains in an Albuquerque hospital in police custody, Johnson said.
Johnson said it was highly unusual for one suspect to evade police for so long, especially since he made no attempt to hide his face and was caught on surveillance cameras.
“I would say he had a lot of luck on his side,” Johnson said. “If somebody commits the same crime over and over in the same fashion, their odds of getting caught become much higher.”
Authorities are working to determine where Perea will stand trial, he said.
Contact Patrick George at 445-3548; Twitter @patrickgeorge1