DESERT HOT SPRINGS – At least four different law enforcement agencies were used to capture a woman who’s accused of kidnapping two people and stealing a car on Tuesday.
Police arrested Courtney Elaine Hulbert who, Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept. officials say, stole a car and kidnapped an auto salesman before kidnapping her six-year-old daughter. Hulbert, 34, reportedly stole a 2011 Kia Optima from Auto Source, a used automobile dealership on Ramsey St. in Banning, which is about 35 miles from Desert Hot Springs.
A sheriff’s spokesman said Hulbert took the car out for a test drive, along with a salesman from the dealership. It was reported that Hulbert took the Kia Optima, stopped at a bank to get money to buy the car. She then drove eastbound on Interstate 10 with the salesman, later identified by CBS news as Edgar Guardado, inside. Banning police Lt. Mike West said a representative from Auto Source called the salesman, who said he had been kidnapped. The phone went dead, said West. Banning police were called into the case at 4:44 p.m. The salesman was dropped along Indian Canyon Rd., a road that links Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, and was picked up by a California Highway Patrol unit.
Once in Desert Hot Springs, Hulbert drove to her mother’s home on Dillon Rd., took the child from her grandmother who has legal custody and fled. Reportedly, Hulbert assaulted her own mother in the process of taking the child, who was eventually returned unharmed.
Eventually, Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept. asked additional agencies to assist in the case. Desert Hot Springs police pulled Hulbert over on Palm Dr., said reports.
Hulbert, unarmed and arrested without incident, was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, where she was still being held Wednesday evening on $50,000 bail. She faces charges of auto theft, kidnapping and, possibly, abduction of her non-custodial child.
Press- Enterprise: Banning: Test drive turns into kidnapping, police say
Banning-Beaumont Patch: Auto Source Employee Kidnapped on Test Drive