Armed robbery at Hemet pharmacy leads to arrest of local man – Second suspect remains sought

HEMET, Calif., — Authorities say the armed robbery of a pharmacy at a Hemet Rite Aid led to the arrest of one of at least two suspects yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, Oct. 20. As of this morning, the other suspect(s) remained sought by officials.

According to witnesses, one of the handgun-wielding suspects leapt over the pharmacy counter and pointed his weapon at a pharmacist while demanding pharmaceuticals; a far-too-common and ongoing problem being reported at Rite Aids and other pharmacies throughout the region.

To combat the problem some local agencies, such as Riverside Police Department, have been conducting undercover operations and stings targeted at stopping organized retail theft and pharmacy robberies. One such targeted enforcement operation in Riverside on Tuesday morning ended with one officer injured and a suspect in custody, after the alleged thief attacked undercover officials with a hatchet. The officer was not seriously injured, according to officials who investigated that violent encounter and arrest.


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Deputies from the Hemet Sheriff’s Station were dispatched to the Rite Aid in the 42000 block of East Florida Avenue, around 4 p.m. after receiving reports of an armed robbery that had just occurred, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Mike Heath later said of the arrest and ongoing investigation.

Deputies arrived within minutes and secured the scene, soon learning that two black males had entered the business and jumped over the pharmacy counter and brandished their firearms while demanding pharmaceuticals from store employees.

They then reportedly fled out the store’s emergency exit door setting off the door alarm, and were last seen running westbound on Orange Blossom Lane from S. Meridian Street, according to witnesses.

The first suspect was described as a black male, around 25-years-old, with tattoos on his face. He was wearing a black hoodie, and was believed to have been armed with a semi-automatic handgun.

The second suspect was described as a black male, approximately six feet tall and 250 pounds, and around 23-years-old. He was wearing a black hoodie, baggy Jeans and tennis shoes. It was not immediately known if he was armed with a weapon during the robbery.

Several witnesses in the area were contacted and interviewed, according to Heath; who said Hemet Sheriff’s Station investigators ultimately responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

“While conducting their investigation, Jeremiah Woods, an 18-year-old resident of Hemet, was identified as one of the suspects involved in the robbery; said Heath; adding that the suspect was located later and arrested later in the evening.

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Woods was reportedly booked into jail on suspicion of robbery; however, no jail booking records could be found in his name during an online jail records search this afternoon.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation or who knows the identity or whereabouts of any other involved subject(s) is encouraged to contact Investigator Don Atkinson at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department – Hemet Station by calling (951) 791-3400. Callers can refer to incident file number D212930049 and can remain anonymous.

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.


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