Dramatic video emerges after RTA bus theft, parolee’s arrest
MORENO VALLEY — A parolee who took advantage of an RTA bus driver’s momentary bathroom break managed to break into and steal a small, red, white and blue commuter bus owned and operated by Empire Transportation under contract with RTA. The theft happened outside Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley shortly after noon, Wednesday, April 24.
The alleged bus thief managed to drive a circuitous route of about four miles during yesterday’s bizarre incident, before he was taken down at gunpoint and apprehended about ten minutes later, just about a mile from the hospital where he stole the small bus. Nobody was on the bus at the time of the theft, and RTA and other officials are investigating how the man managed to break into and drive away with the parked and secured vehicle.
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Yesterday’s theft investigation began around 12:15 p.m., when a man later identified as 29-year-old, Edgar Enriquez, found the empty Route 41 bus parked at the hospital during a short layover, RTA spokesman Bradley Weaver later reported to media.
By the time the driver returned to the bus after a quick break inside the hospital, they found the vehicle was no longer parked where they had left it.
Heavily armed patrol and special teams deputies, along with a sheriff’s K-9 were filmed by a bystander as they cautiously approached an RTA bus that was stolen minutes earlier from RUHS hospital in Moreno Valley. Kenya Esqueda Carrillo image
Within minutes, the theft had been reported to RTA as well as deputies assigned to the hospital, who in turn relayed the theft information to other Moreno Valley PD deputies and CHP, and other surrounding law enforcement agencies.
According to Weaver, RTA buses are equipped with tracking systems as well as live video, allowing RTA officials to not only be able to track the bus’ movement and direction of travel, but to also watch live video of Enriquez as he was driving the vehicle.
Several minutes later, with help from RTA’s tracking and monitoring equipment, deputies searching for the stolen bus located it just a few miles away, in the area of Eucalyptus Ave. and Morrison St.
As more than a dozen patrol and special teams deputies in marked and unmarked official vehicles, along with a sheriff’s K-9 handler and “Star-9” converged on the stolen bus, the driver stopped in the lanes of travel at a Moreno Valley intersection. Jail records later indicated Enriquez was arrested near the corner of Cottonwood Ave. and Nason St.
As the sheriff’s helicopter aviation crew circled overhead, more than a dozen deputies were soon stacked up behind and around the stolen bus and a deputy began using a PA loudspeaker to order anyone still inside bus to immediately exit the vehicle. Deputies were also heard warning that anyone who failed to exit the bus would possibly be bitten by the sheriff’s K-9, who stood by barking excitedly and ready to go to work.
Deputies were filmed by a bystander who witnessed them trying to force entry into the stolen bus as it sat at a Moreno Valley intersection. Kenya Esqueda Carrillo image
About a half-dozen deputies were then filmed by an area resident as they cautiously approached the bus while armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns, and less-lethal options. That video was later shared with Facebook’s Moreno Valley Matters by Kenya Esqueda Carrillo, who reported her mother was the one who filmed the video while driving through the area with Carillo’s children.
“She said she had my kids in the back seat’s floor,” Carillo said of the scary ordeal.
The short video, which has since been viewed and shared hundreds of times on social media, then showed deputies trying to force entry into the automatic passenger entry and exit doors before moving to the open driver’s side door to make entry into the bus.
During the incident deputies detained Enriquez, before later arresting him. He was subsequently booked into Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of vehicle theft and violation of parole. Jail records indicate he remains in custody and is being held without bail, and he is scheduled to be arraigned at Riverside’s Hall of Justice, tomorrow, April 26.
Carrillo, whose mother and children witnessed the dramatic scene unfold in front of them, later said, “I’m just glad they got home safe. These days, you never know when a shootout can happen.”
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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.