On 04/21/2013, at approximately 1:40 pm, Hemet Police Officer Dean Benjamin was conducting extra patrol in the 500 block of S. Harvard Street when he observed a 1999 green Honda Civic backed into a driveway.
Officer Benjamin, in classic 'Community Based Policing' fashion, knew the driveway was attached to a vacant residence. Officer Benjamin conducted a records check and was notified by Hemet PD dispatch that the vehicle had been reported stolen. Officer Benjamin summoned additional Hemet officers and contacted residents of a near-by home.
After knocking on the door of the neighboring residence for a few minutes, several people emerged and were contacted by Officer Benjamin and his partners.
The investigation revealed that Joshua Pinkerton, who was one of the subjects in the neighboring home, had been driving the Honda and recently parked it where Officer Benjamin located it.
Pinkerton, who had recently been released from custody per AB 109, was arrested and booked for Possession of Stolen Vehicle, Violation of Probation, and a request for an AB109 "Flash Incarceration" was sought.
Officer Benjamin, with the assistance of his Hemet PD partners, has recovered several stolen vehicles during the past month. The Hemet Police Department's Community Based Policing model assigns officers to specific beats for no-less than four months at a time. During that time, the officers learn neighborhood-specific details and foster relationships with residents & businesses within their beat.
One of Officer Benjamin's supervisors, Corporal Gabriel Gomez, credits this arrest with Benjamin's knowledge of his beat. "What Pinkerton didn't realize was that [Officer] Benjamin knew that house was vacant. Pinkerton thought he would just park a stolen car there and no one would be the wiser. He didn't realize our officers live, know, and care about this community!"