LAKEHEAD: Two arrested, one still sought, after kidnap and robbery related pursuit
LAKEHEAD — Two people are in custody and officials are seeking a third subject after the three allegedly kidnapped and robbed an elderly man before leading officials on a pursuit through numerous communities covering two counties, Saturday, Dec. 30.
The pursuit ended near a gated community in Tehama County after a Shasta County sheriff’s deputy used a pursuit intervention maneuver to cause a truck stolen from the elderly victim to spin off the roadway, where it crashed into another vehicle.
Although two of the three alleged suspects who were in the stolen truck fled from the vehicle, both men were taken into custody after fighting with officials following the collisions.
After an investigation, officers arrested Gary Bennett, 57, of Corning, and Lorito Lawrence Bolayog, 38, of Cottonwood. They were later booked into the Shasta County Jail in Redding on suspicion of torture, kidnapping, robbery, elder abuse and multiple other charges, Shasta County Sheriff’s Sgt. Logan Stonehouse explained in a social media press release after the incident and arrests.
A third person involved in the initially reported crime, who was not in the truck at the time of the pursuit, has not been identified or apprehended and he is actively being sought.
The investigation began shortly before 8 a.m., when Shasta County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a private residence in the area of Nighthawk Lane in Lakehead, after a person called 911 to report a robbery.
The caller told SHASCOM emergency dispatchers that their elderly neighbor had come to them seeking help after being robbed. The victim had been “severely beaten” according to Stonehouse, who explained that three suspects had beaten and robbed the victim of his firearms and other items before stealing his vehicle, described as a red, 2003 Ford Ranger with a red camper shell.
While deputies were headed to the victim’s home, SHASCOM updated that the three suspects had used firearms and knives during the violent incident.
A short time later, deputies spotted a vehicle matching the description of the victim’s stolen truck, about 26 miles south of the victim’s residence. The truck was occupied by two subjects and was travelling southbound on Interstate 5 near Bridge Bay Road in Redding.
Deputies conducted a records check on the truck’s license plate and confirmed the Ford was registered to the victim who had reported the robbery.
As the truck continued southbound on I-5 near Pine Grove Avenue, deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the truck but the vehicle failed to yield and deputies initiated a pursuit.
During the chase, the driver, who was later identified as Bennett, drove in an extremely reckless manner, without regard for the safety of other citizens or pursuing officials.
Bennett eventually exited I-5 at North Street in Anderson where he continued trying to evade deputies.
“Based upon the severity of the crime and the suspects possibly being armed, deputies were given authorization for legal intervention techniques in order to stop the Ford Ranger,” Stonehouse explained.
Despite the approval to use a pursuit intervention technique – or PIT maneuver – pursuing deputies were not able to get into position to safely cause the truck to spin out without potentially endangering citizen’s, the suspect’s or officer’s lives.
Bennett and his passenger, who was later identified as Bolayog, continued fleeing from pursuing officials and they fled through the City of Anderson before getting back onto southbound I-5 at the south end of Highway 273.
Deputies continued to pursue the stolen vehicle until it exited southbound Main Street in Cottonwood before Bennett turned onto Lake California Drive in Tehama County.
As the chase continued, pursuing officials observed the occupants from the stolen truck throwing items believed taken during the robbery, including at least one firearm stolen from the victim.
The pursuit continued at high-speed towards the gated community of Lake California.
Stonehouse explained that because deputies believed the suspects would be a “severe public safety risk” if the vehicle was allowed to enter the gated community, a City of Shasta Lake sheriff deputy performed a “legal intervention technique” that caused the stolen Ford to leave the roadway.
As the truck left the roadway, it crashed into another vehicle that had stopped along the side of the road “due to law enforcement presence,” said Stonehouse. The other motorist who was struck by the truck was uninjured in the collision.
After the collision, the stolen truck continued a short distance before coming to rest on St. John’s Place. As the vehicle came to a stop, Bennett and Bolayog, who officials say was wearing a ski mask in an attempt to conceal his identity, fled on foot.
“Both Bennett and Bolayog resisted officer’s commands and were ultimately taken into custody after a struggle,” said Stonehouse.
During their subsequent investigation, deputies located and recovered a loaded handgun and other stolen property belonging to the victim that Bennett and Bolayog had thrown from the window of the stolen truck during the chase.
Both Bennett and Bolayog were taken to an area hospital for medical clearance required for booking.
Based on the circumstances, members of the Shasta County Major Crimes Unit responded to the multiple crime scenes and are assisting other sheriff’s officials in identifying, locating and arresting the outstanding suspect.
An online jail records search revealed Bennett was booked the day of his arrest on suspicion of torture, kidnapping to commit a robbery, kidnapping, robbery, criminal threats, battery resulting in serious bodily injury, elder abuse, vehicle theft, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and recklessly evading officers.
After being medically cleared, Bolayog was booked shortly after midnight the next day on suspicion of torture, kidnapping to commit a robbery, kidnapping, robbery, criminal threats, battery resulting in great bodily injury, resisting arrest.
Both men remain in custody, held on $500,000 bail.
The investigation into this incident is active and ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact Shasta County Sheriff’s Sergeant Stonehouse at (530) 245-6025. Callers can refer to incident file number 17-45863 and can remain anonymous.
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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as 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, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries 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 27 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 14 grandchildren.