A clue left at the scene of a hold-up robbery led to the arrest of 45-year-old Highland resident Nathaniel Dawson.
The shooting, which occurred in March, led to a ramping up in the investigation. Redlands Police investigators were in a meeting Wednesday with other law enforcement agencies discussing the possibility of setting up a task force to catch the suspect when the call came that another robbery was in progress.
Dawson is behind bars, suspected of more than a dozen armed robberies. His arrest came just as Redland's business owners were about to set up a reward for information leading to an arrest.
During a news conference at San Bernardino County Sheriff's Dept. headquarters, Sheriff Rod Hoops said the investigation has linked Dawson to at least 10 robberies possibly another 30.
But it was a robbery at a Dairy Queen in Redlands that concerned authorities after a female employee was shot in the leg.
"His statement was it was an accident," said Redlands Police Sgt. Mark Hardy.
Dawson's alleged crime spree came to end late Wednesday afternoon. Investigators believe he had just robbed a Wendy's restaurant, but unlike every other robbery, this time, police say, he left behind a clue.
"For the first time we actually had a witness that identified a possible vehicle as well as surveillance tape that also identified a possible vehicle," said Hoops.
An officer spotted the car in question and pulled Dawson over. He was taken into custody without incident.
Investigators say two search warrants turned up evidence, including a handgun.
"This person is going to be held responsible and accountable, and will never be on the streets again of this county or any other county in the state of California," said San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos.
Dawson was held on $1 million bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Friday.
The investigation is continuing and anyone with information is urged to contact their local law enforcement agency or callers wishing to remain anonymous may contact the We-Tip Hotline at (800) 78-CRIME or http://www.wetip.com/