SAN JACINTO: Couple, 75 and 82, robbed of winnings after leaving Soboba Casino
SAN JACINTO — Authorities arrested one of two men they allege beat and then robbed an elderly couple of their winnings after the couple left the Soboba Casino Wednesday, Aug. 16. The early-morning robbery and attempted murder happened in the area of Main and S. Hewitt Streets in San Jacinto.
When the two suspects fled after first beating the elderly man and robbing the couple of their cash and casino winnings, the driver “intentionally sideswiped the victim’s car, pinning the male victim between the two vehicles,” according to a sheriff’s official.
After an investigation, deputies arrested Curtis Lee Howard, 26, of San Jacinto. He was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning for his alleged involvement in the crime, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Robert Duckett explained in a written press release after the incident and arrest.
Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s San Jacinto Police Station responded to the incident about 3:40 a.m., after Riverside County emergency dispatchers were notified regarding the incident.
When they arrived, deputies found a 75-year-old, San Jacinto man and his 82-year-old spouse. The male victim, who officials did not identify, suffered injuries from the assault and being hit with the suspect’s SUV.
The male victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he was treated for his “non-life threatening injuries.”
During their investigation, deputies learned the victims had been at the Soboba Casino before the robbery and attempted murder. The couple left the casino about 3:30 a.m., after cashing in their winnings from the evening, according to Duckett.
The victims told investigating deputies that while they were driving home, their vehicle was rear-ended by the suspect’s SUV. When the victims pulled over and exited their car to inspect the damage, two black males exited the SUV and attacked the 75-year-old man, beating him and robbing him of his winnings.
Officials did not specify how much was robbed from the victims or if the money was recovered and returned to the couple.
When the two suspects fled, the driver of the suspect’s SUV “intentionally side swiped the victim’s car, pinning the male victim between the two vehicles,” before speeding away from the location.
Based on the circumstances, investigators from the Hemet Sheriff’s Station followed up on evidence and investigative leads and ultimately located and arrested Howard.
Officials did not specify if Howard was driving the SUV when it struck the victim; however, a jail records search revealed Howard was charged with attempted murder, robbery, harming an elder and committing a felony against an elder.
Howard remains in custody, held on $1 million bail and he is scheduled to be arraigned at an unspecified court Aug. 22.
Officials made no mention of the second suspect they are seeking but the investigation is active and ongoing.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call Investigator Fransik or Investigator Medina at the Hemet Sheriff’s Station, (951) 791-3400. Callers can refer to incident file number I172280004 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.
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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.