SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Authorities sought Tuesday to identify and track down a man and woman who carried out a 4 1/2-hour armed-robbery spree during which one of the victims, an off-duty San Diego police officer, suffered a non-lethal gunshot wound to the head.
The thieves who committed the series of holdups Monday morning and afternoon wore dark-colored garments with the word "police" on them, and the female perpetrator had a ski mask over her face, authorities said.
The first of the crimes took place about 9 a.m., when the male bandit confronted a man who was unloading some items from the trunk of his car in a parking lot in the 8900 block of Rio San Diego Drive in Mission Valley.
The thief pulled a silver pistol on the victim, stole his wallet and fled to the west in a full-sized white sedan, SDPD public-affairs Lt. Andra Brown said.
Shortly before 12:30 p.m., San Diego police Officer Les Stewart, 57, was robbed at gunpoint after using an ATM at a credit union office in the 1600 block of South Escondido Boulevard in Escondido. After stealing the patrolman's wallet and cell phone, the bandit shot him from behind, then fled in a white car.
Medics took Stewart, a 27-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department, to Palomar Medical Center, where he was admitted with a bullet graze wound to his scalp.
About an hour later, a third victim was approached by a man and a thin woman in a parking lot at a shopping center on College Grove Way in the Oak Park district of San Diego, Brown said.
The male thief pointed a silver handgun at the man and demanded that he hand over the keys to his black 2006 Suzuki Aerio hatchback. The victim complied, and the bandits fled in the stolen vehicle.
At about the same time, several 911 callers reported that a white Ford Crown Victoria was ablaze -- apparently torched by the robbers -- in the lot where the carjacking had taken place.
The stolen vehicle was found in the 100 block of Jefferson Avenue in Chula Vista shortly after 7 p.m., according to Brown. It also had been set on fire, she said.
Due to similarities in the actions and general descriptions of the perpetrators, police believe the same two people were behind all three crimes. Detectives, however, have few details on the thieves' appearance, except that they wore black clothing, including vests or jackets with the word "police" on them.
The wounded officer remained hospitalized in stable condition Tuesday afternoon and was expected to recover.