[UPDATE 10:28 a.m.] Benbow Inn Robbed at Gunpoint

An armed robber held up the historic Benbow Inn tonight at approximately 8:57 p.m., According to scanner traffic, two shots were fired. [UPDATE: John Porter the owner says there was only one.] A staff member told dispatch that the cash drawer was taken.

An unknown colored pickup reportedly left in an unknown direction with its lights off.

UPDATE 9:18 p.m.: The suspect, according to law enforcement on the scanner, was dressed entirely in black and was wearing a mask.

UPDATE 10 p.m.: Both the Inn and the KOA campground across the freeway are on lockdown, according to Fauna Frutchey, the auditor for the Inn. [UPDATE: John Porter the owner says that “NO ONE was locked down as a result of management or police decision.”  Frutchey, who is currently locked in a cabin on the premises, told us by phone that she had gone out late for her break. “I was supposed to have been on my lunch break earlier and have been back and been the auditor for the late shift,” she said. Frutchey was reached by phone while she was outside and told to stay. Her brother came and found her and hurried her to his cabin there. “Everything is on lockdown,” she said. She was told by her employer in a short call, that there was a shooter. “Stay tight and do not come out [of the cabin.]”

“An exchange student from Jamaica was on the front desk,” Frutchey explained.  [Note: John Porter the owner says the clerk “was not a ‘exchange student from Jamaica’.]

She said that call between her and her employer occurred about 9:09 p.m. She was still in the cabin as of 9:55 p.m.

UPDATE 10:16 p.m.: The officers have all left the premises, says Frutchey. Everything is closed for the night and no one was hurt. “Everything is fine,” she said. “It was just a scary situation.”

UPDATE 10:13 a.m.: John Porter of the Benbow Inn sent us an email this morning. He stated there were incorrect parts in the information we received last night.

  1. Neither the Inn nor RV Park were on “Lockdown”
  2. One shot was fired
  3. The employee who was involved (whom we want to protect and should not have described that person) was not a “exchange student from Jamaica”
  4. If the employee you talked to was “locked in a cabin on the premise” it was of her own decision.  NO ONE was locked down as a result of management or police decision, there was not  need to have a lock down.

UPDATE 10:28 a.m.: Last night, the robbery at the Inn occurred when a masked man carrying a handgun approached the clerk, explained Selena Zorrilla-Mendoza a spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. “The suspect demanded cash or money from the clerk. Initially the clerk was hesitant and the suspect shot towards the floor. (Zorrilla-Mendoza says she can’t confirm the number of shots at this time.) The suspect fled with money.

The suspect is described as a white male with light brown skin, said Zorrilla-Mendoza. The man is reportedly six feet tall and thin. He was reportedly wearing a black mask, a black jacket, blue jeans, brown boots and black gloves. He carried a handgun.

We cannot confirm if there are any vehicles involved at this time.



  • Dirty bastards!

  • There is absolutely no fear of the courts in Humboldt County.

    • In a way there is. I fear jury duty, for example

      • Funny. I think we all do. What a colossal waste of time, waiting in a windowless room, herded around like cattle with no respect for prospective jurors or their time.

        • I just had to go sit in that coffee-infused room (with windows) with 99 other people (in a room with a 98 person occupancy certificate)… in a room with inadequate emergency exit… after being FORCED to show up (for fear of jail)… and so on.

          The system needs a major overhaul. Almost every county in California is on a computer-based juror system – except Humboldt.

          We have to go up there to fill in forms we could easily do by computer or smart phone… etc. The whole thing is an 18th century response to 21st century problems and until they fix it, very few people will want to “volunteer” their time to sit on juries.

          Also our courts have a ridiculous system of delay. In the city you go up in front of a judge and if you don’t have your shit together, that’s your problem… today is when you see the judge and today is when it happens.

          Here in Hum, the judges put off, delay, postpone, reschedule, remove, rearrange and basically don’t do crap until their out of time and have to do something,

          This results in huge waste of time for everyone concerned (except Mr. Judge who is getting paid for all this). Plus it clogs the courts. If cases were actually heard when scheduled… they wouldn’t need to be put on the calendars multiple times – blocking other court cases and so on.

          The entire thing needs to be rethought from top to bottom, I know a lot of people had big hopes for Kim Bartelson when she started, but it’s obviously just more of the Same Old Same Old… court workers don’t care to streamline because wasted time and effort is Job Security for them. And nothing else matters.

  • Another Trimmagrant crime?

    Eh, watching your masters eat in elegance with their bottom-less budget … I can uderstand why this place was targeted.

    I wonder how long until the first Trimmagrant vs grower lawsuit happens … paying under the table is what most every grower does and in doing opens a huge liability door.

    Have fun with legalization dope growers!!

    Welcome to the real world

  • Its probably the same person that’s been robbing the places up north! Goes to show how well trained the investigators are around here and this is why there should be a gun under every till people would think twice after a few clerks blew some heads off!!!

    • 1 Sheriff on premise for a shooting. Measure Z… What a joke.. Spent 250k trimming trees at the airport. Thats at least 4 sohum sheriffs.

      • No doubt, word is out that there’s very little police presence in so hum. Time to go back to reminding thieves we can take care of ourselves if we have to. They found the money right away for that bulletproof military style car that was over 100,000 grand. WTF!!

        Its definately gotten worse ever since some businesses were robbed late night and the sheriff’s had no one to respond. Those folks got to watch their store looted for hours on their security cameras, even the alarm company called the sheriffs. So you can’t go shoot them yourself or you’ll be arrested, and the cops don’t have anyone to event show up.

        I bet money this is the same guy robbing all over the place, Almost a snub at the cops, very daring places to just walk in and rob. Unfortunately the sheriff’s seem even more bumbling than back when they refused to believe their buddy who tried multiple times to turn himself in as a serial killer in the 90’s, he finally had to bring a body part from his freezer for them to believe him.

        Wasn’t measure Z supposed to pay for sheriff’s back in garberville and other rural communities? What the hell is all that money getting spent on, it sure ain’t rural roads!

      • Lets not forget the $600,000 armored vehicle the board of supes allowed the sheriff to purchase.

        Much better than having more coverage or better yet, a sub station in Garberville.

    • Yeah. No possibility thieves will figure that out and preemptively shoot clerks. What could go wrong?

  • No end to the scumbaggery in Humboldt.

  • It’s not just this story! I’m looking at all the headlines to the right. OMGS!! The world is tumbling into Chaos. So sad, scary and violent. Take care my friends. Take good care

  • It is amazing that the lawless folk of this area immediately start screaming for LEO’S to protect them… Have you been to the grocery stores and seen the wads of cash being tendered? It must be a huge temptation for the armed bandits, and I for one am uncomfortable going to Shop-Smart in Redway, Rays in Goobsterdam and many other places in Northern Humboldt, simply because the owners don’t seem to have any sense of how to reduce this sort of crime. Cash in large amounts is always a target.
    Blaming trimsients is interesting though… Got any proof? I am more likely to believe in a traveling robber who moves on when it gets hot…

  • OH and you robbers: be aware that Humboldt County has many, many gun-packers. Be careful out there!

  • Wonder if the Benbow has security cameras? It wouldn’t matter with the suspect wearing a mask but one never knows.

  • Way to go enept downey what the hell is going on maybe the cops should watch cops so they know what to do.

  • I hope all businesses are installing high resolution security cameras and good lighting inside and outside. Its only a matter of time before clerks start getting shot.

  • Jamaican Exchange student ? They don’t have green cards and cannot work .Typical of the benbow inn always trying to pull a scam with employees

    • Hey you ass I’ve personally met them and they are amazing men and women. Don’t be so Trumpy. And since when has it been illegal for a foreign exchange student get a job? For you to pick on someone so far from home means you need to get a life!
      Ps what a shame it’s really the only good place to go get some food in so hum anymore. Leo’s clearly need to be more active it’s a joke!

    • He is not a foreign exchange student as was stated. John clarified that In the update if you read it.

  • The sheriff dept is far too busy rounding up the truly dangerous people that are skipping out of jury duty.

  • When law enforcement types were told if they live in the community they MUST respond to things like this….they all moved out of sohum. There used to be many locally residing CHP but no more. Cannot entice any deputies to actually live here either. Law enforcement in sohum is a terrible joke.
    And no support for the VETERANS either.

  • No fucking way!!!

  • Glad no one was hurt!!geeze Louise WILD WILD WEST the only thing missing was his horse.are we all in a reality show?I would hire a armed guard in or outside.

  • Trumps going to create Libel laws to hold journalist accountable for inaccurate claims! Presenting hearsay as facts labeled as breaking news is flat out irresponsible and should not be tolerated any longer. Great job keeping them honest John! Unfortunately, retracting information after the fact usually doesn’t impact those who believe what they’ve initially read. They’ve already moved on to the next drama.

    • Jody, with breaking news we gather the best information available at the time, state where the information came from, such as a scanner or a witness, and correct the information should later information indicate that we were wrong. My article was not inaccurate. For instance, I stated that the scanner said there were two shots. The scanner did say that. Now later information clarifies that there was only one shot. I updated the article with that information clearly and within a short time of receiving the information.

      Mr. Porter did not have to keep me honest. I gladly print the best information available. If you don’t want to read that a road is blocked due to an accident for fear that the reporter got the number of vehicles involved wrong because the details are coming in from witnesses who are frazzled and upset, you are in the minority.

      Just because I can’t resist…I want to point out my name and face and email are attached to every statement I make…unlike yours.

  • These people robbing hotels are stupid! We deal in mostly credit cards

  • I read today that our new administration may pass a right to carry law that will trump (!) Local restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon. Whee, everbody will have a gun, the homeless, business owners, that shithead in the beamer that ran me off the road. Everyone. This is gonna be entertaining to say the least.

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