LANCASTER – Two women were recognized by the city of Lancaster and the Sheriff’s Department Tuesday for helping to catch an armed robbery suspect.
Sheena Matthews and Tonya Heywood worked together to help deputies capture armed gang member Deon Fite just moments after Fite allegedly robbed an east Lancaster gas station this past June, authorities said.
Both women are technicians at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station, said Sheriff’s Captain Bob Jonsen.
“Lancaster takes in between 400 to 500 phones calls per day,” Jonsen said. “These two individuals are right there… dispatching units effectively.”
On the afternoon of June 20, Heywood got off work and headed to the Valero near 5th Street East and Avenue K to get gas, Johnson said.
“As she walked in to pay, somebody followed her in and an armed robbery was committed,” Jonsen said.
When the thief left the store, Heywood followed him while calling the Lancaster Station to report what she just saw.
“When you’re following an armed gang member in close proximity trying to call it in without being seen it’s a tough job, but she did a phenomenal phenomenal job,” Jonsen said.
Matthews took the call at the station, and both women successfully led deputies to Fite, Jonsen said.
“Together they did a tremendous job dispatching units to where the suspect was going, containment was set up, and at the end, an armed gang member who was on parole from Kern County was taken into custody,” Jonsen said, adding that the stolen money was also recovered.
For their brave and heroic efforts, both women were presented with commendation certificates from the Sheriff’s Department at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“You definitely made our department look good that day as you do every day,” Jonsen said to the two women.
(Read more about the armed robbery here)