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ATM Heist Prevented by Deputy, Officials Believe

An Orange County sheriff’s deputy may have prevented a robbery when he chased and caught a man he spotted hiding in the bushes between two banks, a sheriff’s spokesman said Friday.

The man might have been waiting for a chance to rob someone at the nearby bank teller machines, Lt. Dan Martini said. The suspect, identified as Arthur William Bedford III, 33, was in custody Friday on suspicion of grand theft. The arresting officer found a pawn shop ticket in Bedford’s pocket for jewelry that had been reported stolen, Martini said.

The incident began about 11 p.m. Thursday when Deputy E. Macias spotted a man in dark clothing lurking near the bushes between the Bank of America and the Crown Valley Bank. Macias focused his patrol car’s spotlight on the man, who ran.

Martini said the deputy ran after the man, who might have dropped an unloaded, .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun during the chase. Authorities recovered a gun, but because deputy Macias did not seem him drop it, authorities cannot charge him with unlawful possession of a weapon.

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Martini said that when the deputy caught the man at the bottom of a hill near Crown Valley Parkway and Puerta Real he found one .40-caliber round in the suspect’s pocket. The deputy also found the pawn shop ticket, Martini said.

Bedford was booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of robbery based on the jewelry, Martini said.

Martini said the deputy might have saved someone from being mugged at the teller machines.

“We really feel deputy Macias thwarted a robbery,” Martini said. “This is a (warning) for South County.”

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