HEMET: GTF officers make quick apprehension in Sears robbery investigation

HEMET — Officers arrested at least one person in connection with a robbery that happened at a Hemet Sears, Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 26. The Sears where the incident happened is at the Hemet Valley Mall on the 2200 block of W. Florida Avenue.

Officers search the vehicle of a woman who had been seen with a man accused of robbing a Hemet Sears. Gary Rainwater/Hemet Valley Incidents photo

City of Hemet police officers were dispatched to the business about 1:50 p.m., after receiving reports of a shoplifting in progress that had escalated into a robbery.

A 911 caller reported to dispatchers that a white, male, adult, who was later identified as 24-year-old, Brandon Colin Heath, had fled the business with store merchandise he failed to pay for.

Loss prevention and other store and mall personnel had seen Heath running out the back of the store to a nearby river bed, where he attempted to hide the merchandise he had been carrying.

Hemet Mall security then spotted Heath running back across the parking lot where he boarded a small, local transit, RTA bus that was headed to Perris. Security officers also advised that a woman who was with Heath was seen sitting in a green Honda sedan at the edge of the parking lot near the RTA bus stop where Heath had been seen boarding the bus.

Two members of Hemet PD’s Gang Task Force were first to arrive at the scene. When they arrived, the GTF officers immediately boarded the bus and apprehended Heath without incident. He was removed from the bus and detained for further investigation.

Other responding officers assisted with detaining the woman reportedly with Heath. She was handcuffed by officers and detained for further investigation.

While investigating the reported theft and robbery, officers collected various items of evidence, including a red pair of bolt cutters. It was not immediately known what role the bolt cutters played in the alleged crime.

After their investigation, officers arrested Heath and he was later booked into Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility on suspicion of first degree robbery, possession of a controlled substance, two counts of petty theft with priors, violation of probation and a prior state prison enhancement.

An online jail records search revealed Heath remains in custody, held on $55,000 bail. He is next scheduled to be seen at an unspecified court, Jan. 9.

No information was available regarding the status of the woman who was detained and interviewed.

Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to contact Hemet Police Department at (951) 765-2400. Callers can refer to incident file number 17-12497 and can remain anonymous.

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Gary Rainwater/Hemet Valley Incidents video

Gary Rainwater/Hemet Valley Incidents video


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.