Three arrests in Redding auto-theft sting

An undercover sting of an auto-theft hot spot in Redding nets three arrests

Posted: Nov. 8, 2017 6:05 AM
Updated: Nov. 8, 2017 7:37 AM

The Redding Police Neighborhood Police Unit was implemented to conduct proactive policing in the City of Redding as a way to improve the quality of life for our community. In doing this, they keep track of crime trends and do what they can to address the trends. Recently it has come to the attention of NPU that auto burglaries have had a noticeable increase along Hilltop Drive in the parking lots of local motels and hotels.

On November 7, 2017 the NPU put together an operation to address these issues utilizing undercover officers and marked police cars. While patrolling the parking lot of the La Quinta Inn at 2180 Hilltop drive, officers noted a suspicious person standing near a parked car to the rear of the business. Suddenly, the vehicle car alarm sounded and the suspicious male, identified as Joshua Alexander Ellis 26 years of Redding, began walking away from the vehicle. Officers stopped and detained Ellis who was found to be a homeless heroin addict and admitted to checking locked and unlocked vehicles in the parking lot of motels to find anything of value to support his drug habit. During the investigation, officers recognized the vehicle he had been tampering with as a vehicle that had been identified by the Redding Police Department Red Light Enforcement Team as a vehicle with numerous red light violations in the city of Redding. That vehicle was suspected of being stolen in the state of Washington. The Red Light Enforcement Team had issued a photo of the vehicle and driver to the Patrol Division in an attempt at identifying the driver for numerous violations.

Although Ellis was not the photographed male driver during the violations, that subject suddenly exited the rear door of the La Quinta Inn and approached the identified vehicle with a female companion. William James Ashmun 25 years was in possession of the keys to the car in question. Once identified, Ashmun was found to be on felony probation and participating in the Daily Work Release Program with the Shasta County Probation Department. Ashmun was staying in Room #330 at the La Quinta Inn and was in possession of his room key. Ashmun was detained and a probation search of his room found him to be in possession of heroin for sales and methamphetamine.

The female companion was identified as Elizabeth Anne Schwerin 26 years of Redding. She had an outstanding no bail arrest warrant for failing to report for work days through the Shasta County Courts.

Ellis was arrested for vehicle tampering and the investigation found the vehicle was not stolen, merely reported as an overdue vehicle wanting returned to the owner in the state of Washington. Ashmun was arrested for possession of heroin for sales, possession of methamphetamine and violation of his probation terms. Schwerin was arrested for the outstanding warrant. All of the subjects were placed in custody at the Shasta County Jail.

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