Santa Monica, CA

Man steals car and threatens to assault woman in California

Josue Torres
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A couple was exiting a Santa Monica parking garage early Friday morning when a man reportedly assaulted them and stole their SUV, according to authorities.

A man approached the pair as they sat in a Jeep with the top down, just before 1:30 a.m., as they were ready to exit a parking garage on the 1500 block of 2nd Street. 

According to a press statement from the Santa Monica Police Department, the suspect, subsequently identified as 30-year-old Preston B. Rochon, reportedly seized the lady and threatened to assault her.

The male driver tried to intercede, but amid the physical struggle, Rochon got behind the wheel and drove away, according to authorities.

Rochan reversed and drove over the male victim as he raced after his own car, authorities claimed, leaving him with severe injuries.

The female victim was subsequently treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital.

Officers detained Rochon, who is originally from Texas, shortly after he allegedly drove into a barrier in front of the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica Councilman Phil Brock said that this incident is an anomaly, but it stills resonates with people.

According to police, Rochon was arrested on charges of attempted murder, carjacking, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault to perform a sexual act.

Brock said that from what he understands, he was homeless and on narcotics at the time of the incident, adding that the city’s homeless population is increasing. 

He said that clearly, the issue in Santa Monica is becoming worse because, as L.A. and Venice attempt to improve their situations, a lot of those individuals are moving to Santa Monica.

According to Brock, a recently adopted municipal budget includes money for programs to combat the increasing homelessness problem, such as a community resource unit for the Santa Monica Fire Department to handle health concerns and an L.A. County mental health unit.

Brock mentioned that those plans and actions are insufficient. The city needs twice as many resources as it now has. The city needs the county, the state, and the federal government to step up. 

He finished by saying that in Santa Monica, greater assistance for the homeless population is needed.

Anyone with information on the incident can call Detective Burciaga at 310–458–8932 or the police department’s 24-hour line at 310–458–8427.

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