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Duo Linked To Botched Robberies In Lake Elsinore, Temecula

Wildomar resident Linda Gothan, 54, and her 31-year-old son, Justin Gothan, are connected to a Sept. 1 Subway restaurant robbery in Lake Elsinore and a U.S. bank robbery in Temecula on Sept. 3, according to police.

Linda and Justin Gothan. Photo/Riverside County Sheriff's Dept.
Linda and Justin Gothan. Photo/Riverside County Sheriff's Dept.
UPDATED SEPT. 11 AT 8:21 a.m.: A pair of alleged thieves suspected of robbing a Temecula bank have now been linked by police to an attempted armed robbery in Lake Elsinore.

Wildomar residents Linda Gothan, 54, and her 31-year-old son, Justin Gothan, who lived with her, are connected to a Sept. 1 Subway restaurant robbery in Lake Elsinore and a U.S. bank robbery in Temecula on Sept. 3, according to police.

They failed in both attempts.

The investigations unfurled when on Sept. 3 Linda allegedly walked into the U.S. Bank branch in the 29500 block of Ynez Road wearing sunglasses and a wig. She allegedly handed a teller a note demanding money and then fled on foot with an undisclosed sum, Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Kevin McDonald said in a released statement.

A witness provided a description of a possible getaway car, which deputies located as it headed south on Ynez Road from Rancho California Road with two people inside, McDonald said. Deputies tried to pull the car over, but it continued south on Ynez at a high rate of speed, he said.

The vehicle crashed and rolled over at the intersection of Ynez and La Paz roads, at which point a male tried to crawl out and run away, McDonald said.

A police dog was used to take the man into custody. The suspect was taken to a hospital, where he was admitted for treatment of dog bites and minor crash-related injuries before being booked. His identity has not been released by police.

Linda Gothan was also taken into custody, but without incident. She was also sent to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered in the crash before being booked, McDonald said.

Sgt. Lisa McConnell of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department confirmed that Linda was behind the wheel and Justin was a passenger in the Sept. 3 crash.

Through further investigation, police linked the Gothans to an alleged Sept. 1 attempted robbery in Lake Elsinore. Around 8:30 p.m. that night, a man tried to rob the Subway restaurant at 287 Diamond Drive at gunpoint, according to police.

A man dressed in black and holding a Berretta semi-automatic handgun was unsuccessful in that attempted heist and instead fled in a dark green four-door Saturn, according to a news release from the Lake Elsinore Police Department.

Following the Temecula incident, the Saturn, owned by Linda, was searched. Police linked the Gothans to the Lake Elsinore crime after a gun and clothing seen in surveillance video from the Subway attempted robbery were spotted. 

“During a subsequent investigation by members of the Lake Elsinore Investigations Bureau it was determined Justin Gothan was the suspect who entered the Subway and committed the attempted robbery, and Linda Gothan was the getaway driver in the Saturn,” according to the Lake Elsinore Police Department news release.

Justin Gothan is being held at Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of attempted robbery, according to jail records. He is due in court Sept. 11, the records show.

Linda Gothan has been charged with robbery and disregard for safety. She has pleaded not guilty to both, according to court records.



Brenda September 11, 2013 at 05:19 AM
Wow, they both look scary. But he looks like one of those really scary, heartless, mindless Iraqiii guys holding up American prisoners before they beheaded them. Just the faces of really bad bad people.
SA September 11, 2013 at 12:06 PM
“Hey Ma, I say we rob a bank then we can eat at Subway” “Now, Justin that is a horrible idea I thought I taught you better… Lets rob a Subway and a bank”.
TVOR September 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM
These two would struggle to come up with a 2 digit IQ between them.
Brenda September 15, 2013 at 04:06 PM
LOL TVOR AND SA Trying to think of a hillbilly movie with a Mom and Son, oh the train movie? John Candy? wasnt that something about a Mom criminal? Throw Momma from the train? LOL

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