Quick-acting officers in Beaumont stop theft from elderly woman, after earlier reported theft from other elderly victim

BEAUMONT, Calif., — Authorities say a North Hollywood man was arrested after being caught in the act of attempting to steal an elderly woman’s wallet and cell phone from her vehicle after using a flat tire ruse to get the victim to pull over Sunday afternoon, Feb. 20.

Officers had already been searching for the suspect after another elderly victim reported that the same man had stolen her wallet and cell phone after getting her to pull over by telling her she had a flat tire and would help her change the flat. 


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City of Beaumont police officers were alerted to the first theft around 1:46 p.m. after an elderly woman called 911 to report that a man had stolen her property after she pulled into a gas station near 1st Street and Beaumont Avenue, Beaumont PD said today of the separate incidents and arrest.

Responding officers learned a man in a white Mercedes-Benz had flagged the victim down while driving to notify her that one of her tires was flat. After the man offered to assist her with fixing it, she pulled into the gas station’s parking lot.

Officials who arrested a man caught in the act of stealing an elderly victim’s wallet and cell phone after using a ruse to convince the woman to pull over say the man had just victimized another elderly woman in similar fashion and they believe there may be additional victims who have not yet been identified. Beaumont Police Department photos

When the victim exited her vehicle to check the tire the man, later identified as 42-year-old Arthur Sogomonyan, used the opportunity to enter her vehicle and steal her cell phone and wallet from her purse, which had been on the front seat of the victim’s car.

Sogomonyan then told the victim her tire was ok and left the area, at which time she realized her property had been stolen and notified police.

As they were investigating the theft, observant and quick-thinking officers spotted a Mercedes-Benz being driven by a subject who matched the description provided by the victim and saw the man was following a second elderly victim into another gas station on E. First Street.

As officers watched from a distance, they saw the two vehicles come to a stop in the parking lot, at which time Sogomonyan began interacting with the woman.

As officers were approaching the vehicles, they saw Sogomonyan climb into the front seat of the second victim’s car and begin rummaging through her purse while attempting to steal her wallet and cell phone.

Catching him in the act of the theft, they detained him at the scene without incident, according to officials.

During their subsequent investigation, officers learned Sogomonyan had followed the second victim from the parking lot of a nearby Walmart and had been honking his horn causing her to pull over.

“Sogomonyan approached the victim to let her know her tire was flat and to head to the gas station where he would assist her in filling it up,” officials explained. “When they got there Sogomonyan told her she had a leak under her hood, causing the victim to exit her vehicle, so he could attempt to remove her property, but was interrupted by officers.”

As their investigation continued, officers located the first victim’s stolen wallet and cell phone and arrested Sogomonyan for theft and attempted theft.

“Due to the age of both of the victims he was also charged with felony elder abuse,” officials continued, adding that officers believe there may be additional victims who have not yet been identified.

Online jail records indicate Sogomonyan remains in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail or bond and is scheduled to be arraigned at an unspecified court on Feb. 24.


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Anyone with further information regarding this investigation or who was possibly victimized by Sogomonyan is urged to immediately contact the Beaumont Police Department at (951) 769-8500. Callers can refer to incident file number 2202B-2490 and can remain anonymous.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS), which act as stringer-news providers for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

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.