Stolen Bus and Forgotten Cell Phone Lead to a Mammoth Arrest

Mammoth Police have arrested a man from Palmdale for allegedly stealing a bus. Police say that the 23 year old suspect, Joshua Michael Hernandez, confessed to the crime after officers let him know that he had left his cell phone in the stolen bus.

According to a Mammoth Police press release, the driver of the Westin Shuttle bus had driven a couple of security guards home to the Lincoln House in the North Village at about 3:15 Saturday morning. The driver left the keys in the vehicle and walked into the security office. Five minutes later, police say, the driver returned to where the bus had been parked to find the vehicle gone.

One of the security guards called Mammoth Police Sergeant Marc Moscowitz by cell phone. Sgt. Moscowitz coordinated with Officer Luke Schwartzkopf who had seen the bus driving northbound on Minaret. Sgt. Moscowitz closed in on the bus from the south on Minaret, with Moscowitz closing from the north.

The bus initially failed to stop when officers turned on their lights and sirens, but then did pull over near the Old Woods Site on Minaret. Police say that the driver got out of the bus but failed to comply with the orders given by the officers. The suspect then suddenly took off running, police say, and they soon lost sght of the suspect in the Alpenhof parking lot.

By this time, Officers report that the security guards with Olympic Security met up with the police and helped search the area by foot and in vehicles. After hearing noises near Nevado’s, police say that Sgt. Moscowitz spotted tracks in the deep snow and followed them. As he got closer to Nevado’s, Olympic Security Officer Danny Ledesma saw the suspect walk out of the forest pretending to be an innocent pedestrian, police say.

Officers arrested 23 year old Joshua Michael Hernandez after a short struggle. He initially denied any involvement in the stolen bus. After police told the suspect that they had captured the car stop and search on their in-the-car video systems, officers say the suspect continued to deny any involvement.

In the end police say that Hernandez admitted to stealing the vehicle after officers broke the news, to the suspect that he had left his cell phone in the bus.

Hernandez was booked on charges of vehicle theft, resisting, delaying or obstructing officers and DUI. Bail was set at $25,000.


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