SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The "Be Cool Bandit," who carried out a series of armed heists last year in different parts of San Diego County, pleaded guilty Friday to 10 counts of robbery.
Elvin Vincent Foster Jr., 45, faces up to 28 years in prison when he is sentenced April 5 by Superior Court Judge Charles Gill.
At Foster's arraignment last July, Deputy District Attorney James Koerber said the defendant entered gas stations and convenience stores and displayed what looked like a semi-automatic weapon. The robber was given the "Be Cool" moniker because he spoke those words to one of his victims, Koerber said.
National City police Detective Wade Walters testified at a preliminary hearing that Foster said "Just be cool, be cool" to one of his victims.
The robberies took place between May 3 and July 23 in San Diego, El Cajon and National City.
Larry Armstrong, who worked as a clerk at a 7-Eleven store in El Cajon, said a man later identified as Foster ordered him to empty two cash registers about 1:50 a.m. on June 4.
As he was leaving the store, the robber dropped some change and bent over to scoop it up, Armstrong testified.
"He said, 'I'm sorry, but I'm poor," the witness testified.
Authorities said fingerprint and DNA evidence taken from some of the crime scenes led them to Foster. Several items that connect him to some of the robberies -- including a red, white and blue jacket and a gray beanie -- were recovered after his arrest, and a BB gun was recovered from the trunk of Foster's car, detectives said.
San Diego police Detective Maria Estrella testified that Foster was cooperative and remorseful when he was interviewed.
Foster has an extensive criminal record, including a 1989 conviction for robbery, Koerber said.
The defendant was out on bail on a grand theft case in El Cajon when he committed the series of "Be Cool" robberies, according to the prosecutor.