RANCHO MIRAGE: L.A. man arrested after attempted kidnapping of 9-year-old-girl, 50 mile pursuit

RANCHO MIRAGE — Employees came to the rescue of a mother and daughter after a Los Angeles man allegedly attempted to snatch the 9-year-old girl from her mother’s arms, Wednesday morning, Aug. 16.

The attempted kidnapping happened at the checkout stands of a Gelson’s Market in the 36100 block of Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. The man was arrested after leading authorities on a high-speed pursuit that traveled more than 50 miles to the city of Moreno Valley.  

Roberto Cardenas, of Los Angeles, was arrested after he allegedly tried to kidnap a 9-year-old girl, then led officials on a 50 mile pursuit.

After he was apprehended, officials arrested Roberto Arce Cardenas, 39, of Los Angeles, He was later booked into Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of kidnapping, recklessly evading police, being a felon in possession of a firearm and a prior state prison enhancement.

A deputy from the department’s Media Information Bureau later confirmed that Cardenas had no relation to the victim, who has not been identified due to her age. The official also confirmed the girl was standing next to her mother when the incident occurred.

The investigation began about 11:40 a.m., when deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Rancho Mirage Police Station received a report of an attempted kidnapping that had just occurred, Riverside Sheriff’s Captain Jason Huskey explained in a written press release after the incident and arrest.

911 callers told Riverside County emergency dispatchers that a Hispanic male adult, who was later identified as Cardenas, attempted to snatch a 9-year-old girl away from her mother while they were shopping at an unidentified business.

Hearing the commotion and mother screaming for help, employees at the business rushed to the assistance of the young victim and her mother. Together, the employees “helped separate” Cardenas from the victim, at which time the suspect fled from the area in a silver Hyundai Santa Fe, said Huskey.

The victim’s mother and employees at the business provided investigating deputies a description of the suspect’s vehicle and license plate number, as well as a description of Cardenas.

A short time later, a deputy located the suspect’s vehicle being driven about two miles away, in the 34500 block of Monterey Avenue in neighboring Palm Desert. Officials attempted to conduct an investigatory traffic stop; however, Cardenas refused to yield and sped away from deputies attempting to make the traffic stop.

Officials initiated a pursuit that eventually entered onto the westbound I-10 Freeway, where California Highway Patrol officers took over the pursuit.

The pursuit continued to the city of Moreno Valley where it ended about 1:45 p.m., at Cottonwood Avenue and Dunhill Street near Moreno Valley High School and Moreno Valley Community Park, according to Huskey.

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Moreno Valley Police Station assisted taking Cardenas into custody at the conclusion of the pursuit. After Cardenas was apprehended, he was held until officials from the Rancho Mirage Police Station responded to the location to transport him back for further investigation.

After the stop, deputies, investigators and other sheriff’s officials could be seen near and around Cardenas’ SUV where the pursuit concluded. The vehicle and surrounding area was cordoned off with crime scene tape while members of the department’s Forensic Services Bureau documented, photographed and collected evidence from his SUV.

An online jail records search revealed Cardenas remains in custody, held on $500,000 bail and he is scheduled to be arraigned at the Indio Larson Justice Center tomorrow, Aug 18.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Investigator Tom Hendry at 760-836-1600. Callers can refer to incident file number S17228032 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for 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 and breaking his back 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 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 13 – soon to be 14 – grandchildren.


  • This should be a lesson to parents who let their kids run all over retail stores while they are yip yapping on the cell phones. I see it every day at work

  • “A Los Angeles man …” As in an illegal alien from Los Angeles? It’d be GREAT if the media would provide such completely very relevant information to the public it serves, no matter how “non-politically-correct” doing so might be. The public has a right to be informed!

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