Crime - Sacto 911

Hayward man arrested in South Lake Tahoe armed robberies

Adam Sanford
Adam Sanford Booking photo, South Lake Tahoe Police Department

A Hayward man has been arrested, accused of armed robberies last week in South Lake Tahoe.

Adam Sanford, 32, was taken into custody Friday night after he allegedly robbed people at gunpoint and knife point outside a pharmacy and a hotel.

South Lake Tahoe police responded about 7:10 p.m. to the area of the CVS pharmacy at 3471 Lake Tahoe Blvd. regarding a report that two men had been robbed by someone brandishing a handgun and a long-bladed knife. While en route, the officers fielded further reports that the individual had fired at least one round after robbing two other men at the rear of the Tahoe Beach Retreat hotel at 3411 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

As patrol officers began arriving, two police officers working a plain-clothes overtime detail with a law enforcement agent from California Alcoholic Beverage Control saw the alleged robber walking across Highway 50 to the parking lot of the Safeway supermarket at 1020 Johnson Blvd. They detained and searched the man, identified as Sanford, and found a loaded 9mm handgun in his waistband, according to a Police Department news release. Police said the gun had been stolen from Pollock Pines.

All four victims independently identified Sanford as the man who robbed them, police said.

The first two victims, ages 25 and 19, both of South Lake Tahoe, said they had been walking together in the area of the CVS pharmacy when Sanford walked up to them and displayed both weapons. They told police that Sanford threatened to kill them if they did not give him their wallets. After taking the wallets, they said, Sanford walked toward the Tahoe Beach Retreat hotel.

A 38-year-old man from Tahoe Vista and a 22-year-old man from Incline Village were outside the hotel with a group of approximately 15 other people. The two men told police that Sanford approached them on foot, brandished a gun and a large knife, and demanded their wallets.

The group of people fled the area, but the two men were forced to remain with Sanford as he pointed the weapons at them and threatened them, police said. After stealing their property, Sanford began walking away. After going a short distance, Sanford pointed his gun into the air and fired one shot, the men told police.

Sanford is an ex-felon and is on probation in Sacramento County for burglary, police said. He was booked into El Dorado County Jail on suspicion of 11 offenses: robbery, willful discharge of a firearm in a negligent manner, criminal threats, exhibiting a firearm, possession of stolen property, carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, carrying a loaded firearm in public, carrying a loaded firearm with intent to commit a felony, possession of a firearm with prior violent offenses, being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition and violation of probation.

Police said Sanford also had three outstanding warrants from Placer County for theft, resisting police and failure to appear in court.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy