Whittier, CA — If you live in Southern California long enough, you’ll eventually tune into one of the local television stations to find that your regularly scheduled programming has been pre-empted by a high-speed police chase. These chases usually begin with tips about stolen vehicles or drivers fleeing attempted police stops and can lead to massive property damage before the suspect surrenders.
On Thursday, October 2, a man in a flat-bed truck led state and local police on a 90 minute chase through Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties before he was taken into custody in Rialto around 1 pm. The chase began in Santa Fe Springs where it was reported that $12,000 in steel had been stolen. During the chase the suspect is said to have thrown a fake gun out the window and news helicopters recorded him driving the wrong way on the freeway and stopping to climb a fence before giving up and getting back in the vehicle. He was arrested when his truck drove off an overpass on the 210 freeway and he surrendered to law enforcement.
According to the Whittier Police Department, the suspect, Stephen Richard Bartlett, 54, is also the so-called “Hills Bandit” who has been responsible for a series of nine bank robberies in Southern California since May. The FBI had been tracking the crimes of the Hills Bandit and issued an alert in August, describing the bandit as a middle-aged white male who wore glasses and ball caps. Bartlett is currently in custody on suspicion of theft, evading, vehicle embezzlement, and two hit-and-runs, along with warrants for bank robbery.
When a suspect flees from a police stop or a crime scene they may face additional criminal charges. An example of this is in hit-and-run accidents. Even if a driver is not at fault, they can be charged with a crime if they leave the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance information or offering assistance to an injured party. If you or a loved one is facing serious criminal charges, the most important decision you can make is to hire legal representation.
At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we’ve been defending clients in state and federal courthouses across Southern California for over 16 years. We have an excellent track record of having the charges against our clients reduced or dismissed, and once you hire us we’ll work hard to provide you with the best possible defense. We know how disruptive a criminal investigation can be and we’ll be here to help you tackle your legal issues so that you can keep your life on track. Our firm works closely with local courts and law enforcement and we know the best strategies for fighting any kind of criminal charge.
You’ll probably have a lot of questions, and that’s why our staff is available to help you 24/7. Call us any time or come into our offices in Garden Grove, Irvine, Newport Beach, or Santa Ana. We’re proud to serve Southern California’s diverse local communities by offering foreign language services to our clients who need them.
FBI San Diego. “The Hills Bandit Bank Robber Continues to Target Banks in the San Diego and Los Angeles Areas.” http://www.fbi.gov/sandiego/press-releases/2014/the-hills-bandit-bank-robber-continues-to-target-banks-in-the-san-diego-and-los-angeles-areas. Federal Bureau of Investigation. August 27, 2014.
Serna, Joseph and Veronica Rocha. “Whittier police: driver in pursuit is ‘Hills Bandit’ robbery suspect.” http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-whittier-police-pursuit-hills-bandit-20141002-story.html. Los Angeles Times. October 2, 2014.