Dorner carjacking victim to ask judge to block reward dispersal
A camp ranger, carjacked in Big Bear by Christopher Dorner and who then called police, is expected to ask a judge Friday to block the release of $1 million in reward money.
Richard Heltebrake, who unsuccessfully sought the reward, contends he deserves it. He is expected to show up in a downtown L.A. courtroom Friday to ask an L.A. County Superior Court judge to grant a temporary restraining order stopping authorities from disbursing the money.
Heltebrake called 911 after he was carjacked in the Big Bear area Feb. 12 by Dorner, who took off in Heltebrake’s white pickup.
Authorities Tuesday announced that four people would receive a share of the reward for helping law enforcement officers track down the rogue ex-Los Angeles police officer. Heltebrake was not one of them.
He was not entitled to the money because officers already were aware Dorner was in the area by the time the camp ranger had called 911, according to a 12-page report released by the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Mr. Heltebrake’s phone call did not provide information leading to Dorner’s capture,” the report said. “Law enforcement had already spotted Dorner driving a white pickup.”
In papers filed in Superior Court, an attorney for Heltebrake argues his client should receive a “sum not less than one million dollars” and “special damages.”
A panel of three retired judges determined that 80% of the money would go to a couple who were bound and gagged by Dorner in their Big Bear cabin. A ski resort employee was awarded 15% and a tow truck driver 5%, according to a report detailing the judges’ decision.
Jim and Karen Reynolds were allotted the bulk of the money because they provided information that “directly led to the hot pursuit and capture of Dorner,” according to the report.
Karen Reynolds called 911 on Feb. 12 after she and her husband broke free inside their Big Bear condo, where Dorner had been hiding, and provided her location and the description of the couple’s Nissan SUV that Dorner had stolen.
The call by Reynolds preceded a series of shootouts between Dorner and officers in the final hours before he turned his gun on himself as a fire sparked by tear gas projectiles engulfed the cabin where he had holed up.
“Had Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds failed promptly to escape their restraints and contact law enforcement, it is likely Dorner would have escaped,” the report said.
Dorner, 33, who was fired from the LAPD, was accused of killing four people, including two law enforcement officers, and wounding several others. Authorities launched a sweeping manhunt for the fugitive that covered several states after he allegedly shot an Irvine couple Feb. 3.
Tow truck driver R. Lee McDaniel confirmed Dorner was in the Inland Empire after he flagged down police Feb. 7 at a Corona gas station and said he had spotted the fugitive in his truck moments earlier, the report said.
Hours later, Snow Summit employee Daniel M. McGowan alerted authorities after spotting a burning truck on a rarely used fire road in the Big Bear area. The vehicle turned out to be Dorner’s and led authorities to the area where he was ultimately located.
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