Armed robbery and rape interrupted by volunteer police at park in Moreno Valley

News headline from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department:

Volunteer patrol officers interrupted an armed robbery and sexual assault in progress at a park in the southern section of Moreno Valley on Friday evening.  The suspect was captured and arrested a short time later.

At around 8:00 p.m. on March 2, volunteer patrol officers from the Moreno Valley Police Department were conducting their routine park patrol duties at the El Potrero Park, in the 16900 block of Lasselle Street, when they noticed a vehicle parked on the east side of the parking lot.

As the volunteer officers drove closer to the vehicle to investigate, they saw a man ducking down and running away from the vehicle.  As the volunteers shined their lights in the area, they were flagged down by a young man who said he and his girlfriend had just been assaulted at gunpoint by the subject who ran.

The volunteer officers immediately radioed the information to Moreno Valley police officers in the area, who quickly responded and established a perimeter, searching the area.  They detained a subject who matched the description a short distance away, in the 16000 block of Calle Pinata.

Further investigation revealed the suspect had accosted the young couple as they sat in their vehicle in the park.

The victims reported that the suspect pointed a handgun at them and threatened to shoot them both if they did not obey his commands.  He demanded they hand over their money and that they both disrobe.  He then proceeded to sexually assault the young woman at gunpoint.

The crime was interrupted by the arrival of the volunteer officers, and the suspect fled with some of the young couple’s personal property and clothing.

A Riverside Sheriff’s bloodhound was called to the scene, and during a search of the area, officers located a loaded semi-automatic handgun and items of the victims’ clothing and other personal property.

A search warrant was obtained for the suspect’s residence, and during a search, found additional evidence linking the suspect to the crime.

At the conclusion of the investigation, Derek Anthony Banks III, 18, of Moreno Valley, was arrested for robbery, kidnapping, assault with the intent to commit rape, and rape.  He was transported and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center.

The Police Department applauds the volunteer patrols who assist every day in making Moreno Valley a safer community.

Anyone with additional information about this crime is encouraged to contact Investigator Stites at 951-486-6700.

Filed under Headline

Monday, March 5, 2012


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