MV man seriously injures, breaks woman’s arm, during attempted Riverside carjacking

RIVERSIDE — An alleged thief who seriously injured a woman during an attempted carjacking while trying to flee from officers was apprehended during a violent altercation in Riverside, Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 4.

The incident, which sent the attempted carjacking victim to the hospital with a broken arm and other injuries, happened at Lowe’s, on the 9800 block of Magnolia Ave., between Van Buren Blvd. and Tyler St.


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After an investigation, officers arrested Joseph Heaps, 29, of Moreno Valley. He was later booked into Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of attempted carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon, both felonies.

He was also booked on several misdemeanors, including resisting or obstructing a peace officer, shoplifting, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jail records indicate he remains in custody on $60,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at Riverside’s Hall of Justice, Dec. 6.

Joseph Heaps, of Moreno Valley, was arrested after seriously injuring and breaking a woman’s arm during an attempted carjacking in Riverside. RPD photo

Riverside PD’s investigation began just after 12:30 p.m., when a Lowe’s store employee flagged down a passing Riverside PD motor officer and reported a theft that had just occurred at the business.

The officer quickly located the alleged shoplifter, later identified as Heaps, who immediately fled on foot through the parking lot as the officer was getting off his motorcycle. The officer put out an emergency request for priority assistance as he chased the fleeing man through the parking lot.

With the motor officer in hot pursuit, Heaps ran to a vehicle that was backing out of a parking space, jumping into the passenger seat of the woman’s car. Heaps immediately began violently attacking the victim in an attempt to carjack her vehicle from her.

With help from an off-duty police officer, the motor officer managed to pull Heaps from the woman’s vehicle, where he was wrestled to the ground and detained.

As assisting officers converged on the scene with lights flashing and sirens wailing, officials quickly determined the attempted carjack victim suffered serious injuries during the melee, including a broken arm.

Paramedics soon arrived and attended to the victim, eventually transporting her to an area hospital for treatment of her traumatic injuries.

Later asked about his heroic actions after rescuing the attempted carjack victim and apprehending Heaps, the modest motor officer later said he was “grateful he was at the right place at the right time,” and wished the victim a speedy recovery.


Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta 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. (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 28 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 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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