SAFFORD — For the third time in as many months, Joseph Daniel Bejarano, 27, of Solomon, successfully eluded capture by law enforcement.
At about 10:42 a.m. on Tuesday, a Safford officer received a tip Bejarano was driving a primer grey Chevrolet truck on Little Hollywood Road. The officer contacted detectives regarding the matter and headed toward the area.
Upon the officer's arrival, Bejarano was located in the truck, but he refused to yield — as per his modus operandi — and he and his female passenger bailed out and fled into the desert near the Gila River north of the Safford Bowl. The truck was later seized by the police and towed from the scene.
Multiple officers from the Safford Police Department and Graham County Sheriff’s Office converged on the area and spent hours combing the desert for the suspect, to no avail. A LifeNet helicopter and search dogs from the Federal Correctional Institute-Safford were also used in the attempt to locate Bejarano without success. Officers did, however, discover his clothing, which he apparently discarded after falling into the Gila River.
“We’ll get him,” Safford Police Chief John Griffin said. “We were just moments behind him last time.”
During the search, officers also conducted “knock and talk” visits to some of the residences near the river in case Bejarano or his female companion was hiding inside.
Bejarano’s continued exploits foiling law enforcement’s attempts to take him into custody prompted the Safford Police Department to offer a $500 reward last month for information that leads to his arrest. The reward offer came after Bejarano eluded officers who were responding to a domestic dispute between two other individuals.
Bejarano is wanted on numerous warrants, including two that were issued Oct. 31 for assault and disorderly conduct. He has a $2,500 cash-only bond on those charges. He has a previous conviction of possession of a dangerous drug for sale from 2006 after he attempted to conceal more than eight grams of crystal methamphetamine on a baby who was sitting on his girlfriend’s lap.
When officers attempted to apprehend him in late October, he recklessly fled from them on a motorcycle with a female passenger on the back. As Bejarano sped through a 25-mph residential area at speeds exceeding 65 mph with disregard to stop signs and other vehicles, officers called off the pursuit to avoid injury to the suspect or general public.
That escapade added five more warrants — unlawful flight from law enforcement, endangerment, reckless driving, speeding in excess of 85 mph and driving on a suspended license — which increased his cash-only bond to $50,000 and his extraditable status from merely statewide to include surrounding states. Griffin commented that the only one Bejarano is hurting by his continued desperate flights is himself.
“He’s just stacking up charges,” Griffin said.
Those with information of Bejarano’s whereabouts and who are interested in a $500 payday should call the Safford Police Department at 928-432-4100.