Above: Stock Image
Niland, CA – A call to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO) Dispatch on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at approximately 5:35 PM, alerted authorities to an ongoing criminal activity at the Cal-Grade worksite on Frink Road near Bombay Beach. The concerned caller reported that two individuals in a black Yamaha Rhino were trespassing on the property and stealing fuel. In response to the urgent report, ICSO deputies promptly enlisted the assistance of the United States Border Patrol (USBP) and swiftly headed to the location.
Upon arrival, ICSO deputies and USBP agents discovered the two subjects on the property, attempting to tamper with a gate chain. Law enforcement officials immediately engaged with the individuals, ordering compliance. While one of the subjects obeyed the deputies’ commands, the second subject chose to flee on foot. Nonetheless, ICSO deputies successfully apprehended the first subject, and with the assistance of USBP, apprehended the fleeing individual as well. The two suspects were identified as 42-year-old Robert Hicks and 54-year-old Jeffrey Schwab, both hailing from Niland. Notably, Robert Hicks was found to be in possession of methamphetamine at the time of his arrest.
Following the arrests, Cal-Grade, the owner of the worksite, identified several stolen items in the Yamaha Rhino, including 60 gallons of diesel fuel, copper wire, a transformer inverter, fittings, and various tools. The stolen property amounted to an estimated value of approximately $4,372. Additionally, evidence of vandalism was discovered at the scene. It was further revealed that the Yamaha Rhino itself had been reported stolen from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Riverside County the previous week.
As a consequence of their actions, Robert Hicks and Jeffrey Schwab face multiple charges. Hicks has been booked into the Imperial County Jail on charges of Grand Theft, Possession of Stolen Property, Possession of Burglary Tools, Vandalism, and Possession of Methamphetamine. Similarly, Schwab has been booked on charges of Grand Theft, Possession of Stolen Property, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Vandalism. Notably, both individuals have an extensive history of theft-related offenses.
The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office extends its gratitude to the United States Border Patrol for their swift response and collaboration in apprehending Robert Hicks and Jeffrey Schwab. The timely assistance and backup provided by the USBP were invaluable in ensuring the successful resolution of this criminal incident.
The ICSO remains committed to maintaining the safety and security of the community, diligently investigating and addressing acts of theft, vandalism, and related offenses. Residents are urged to report any suspicious activities promptly, allowing law enforcement to take swift action and preserve the peace and well-being of the community.