An Indio man was behind bars today on suspicion of attacking and robbing a pair of senior citizens in Palm Springs.
Justin Ryan Scarff, 31, was arrested around 6:15 p.m. Saturday on a bus near Date Palm Drive and Highway 111 in Cathedral City and being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside in lieu of $1 million bail. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
Scarff was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, robbery, kidnapping, elder abuse, mayhem, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon and parole violation.
Officers responding to reports of a robbery in the 1800 block of Via Isla around 5 p.m. Saturday found a 75-year-old man who had been stabbed and kicked and a 64-year-old woman who had been physically assaulted, Palm Springs police Sgt. Mike Kovaleff said.
The man had returned from a walk when Scarff attacked him with a knife, kicked him and demanded money, he said, adding that the assailant then went inside the home, brandished a knife and threatened the woman.
“He pulled her with him while in the home and pushed her down to the floor on separate occasions,” he said.
The suspect took items from the home and ran away before the victims could call 911, Kovaleff said. People reported the man running through the neighborhood.
An hour after the robbery, someone reported a possible suspect had boarded a SunLine bus in Palm Springs and was going through Cathedral City.
Police found the bus and detained Scarff without incident, Kovaleff said.
“It was determined that Scarff had changed clothes and boarded the SunLine Bus in the area where the crime occurred as officers searched for him,” Kovaleff said.
The man who was attacked was transported to a nearby hospital suffering from moderate injuries and was released the next day. The woman was treated at the scene for moderate injuries.
The assailant did not know his victims, Kovaleff said.