UPDATE: Gasoline-spewing bank robber pleads not guilty at arraignment

RIVERSIDE – A 34-year-old Riverside area transient pleaded not guilty to attempted robbery and attempted arson charges at a felony in-custody arraignment today, Thursday, Dec. 29. The court proceeding was held at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Brian Buell, a 34-year-old transient, was arrested after he allegedly spewed gasoline and tried to set a credit union on fire during a botched attempted bank robbery in Riverside.

Police officials allege that Brian Paul Buell attempted to rob an Altura Credit Union in the 3400 block of 14th Street near Lemon Street in Riverside Thursday, Dec. 22.

Buell allegedly entered the credit union about 4:20 p.m., and attempted unsuccessfully to rob the bank.

During the commission of the crime, officials allege that Buell “spit and poured gasoline throughout the bank and threatened to burn down the building unless he was given the money,” according to a Riverside Police Department press release. “He also tried to light a roll of toilet paper on fire to ignite the trail of gasoline but was unsuccessful due to the rain that afternoon.”

The bank tellers refused to give Buell any money and called 911 to report the incident, but the gasoline-spewing bandit fled the bank without getting any money before officers arrived.

Patrol and POP team officers assigned to the North Neighborhood Policing Center (NPC) responded and searched the area but were unable to locate the suspect the day of the incident.

Riverside police officers later located and arrested Buell Tuesday, Dec. 27, five days after the attempted robbery. He was arrested after a North NPC Problem Oriented Policing officer spotted him near Main Street and the 60 Freeway in Riverside.

Bank tellers and other witnesses later positively identified Buell as the botched robbery suspect.

Buell was booked into jail for attempted robbery, maliciously setting a fire, attempted arson, making criminal threats, numerous prior state prison enhancements, violation of probation and violation of Post-Release Community Supervision.

A Superior Court records search revealed Buell has prior convictions for robbery, auto theft, possession of stolen property, and burglary.

Buell remain in custody at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. His bail has been set at $205,000.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery 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 in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including the Robert Presley Detention Center, the Southwest Station in Temecula, the Hemet Station, and the Lake Elsinore Station, along with many 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, Personnel and Background Investigations and he finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 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 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.

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