Trio Accused In Murrieta Shoplift-Return Scheme

Jessica Bennett, Michael Edwards, Ronald Jackson Accused Of Trying To Get Refund On Stolen Item

Three San Diego-area residents were in custody in Riverside County on Wednesday suspected of trying to get a refund on merchandise stolen from a Murrieta store, which led to a confrontation that left a police officer with superficial injuries.

Jessica Rochelle Bennett, 21, of Escondido; Michael Anthony Edwards, 58, of Vista; and Ronald Kevin Jackson, 32, of San Diego were arrested Tuesday afternoon outside a Rite Aid store on Murrieta Hot Springs Road.

Minutes earlier, Jackson allegedly had approached a clerk in the business and asked for a refund on an item for which he had no sales receipt, according to police.

Suspecting the merchandise was stolen, the clerk refused Jackson's request and then made an emergency call, Murrietta police Sgt. Don Weller said. Officers arrived a short time later and confronted the 6-foot-2-inch, 320-pound suspect as he was leaving the store.

"As officers placed Mr. Jackson under arrest, he physically resisted them, and an altercation ensued," said Weller. "Mr. Jackson was ultimately placed under arrest after a brief struggle, which caused minor injuries to one of the officers."

Police found Bennett -- like Jackson, a parolee -- sitting in a car along with Edwards in the store parking lot, waiting for Jackson. Both were arrested without incident.

Detectives determined that the trio allegedly had shoplifted merchandise from the drugstore earlier in the day with the intention of trying to return it for cash.

"It also appeared these subjects are responsible for numerous similar thefts across Riverside and San Diego counties," Weller said.

All three were arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary, conspiracy and receiving stolen property. Jackson and Bennett also were booked for alleged parole violations, and Jackson was expected to face a charge of battery on a peace officer.

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