Jason Derek Brown is a dangerous fugitive in hiding. The FBI has offered a reward of up to $200,000 for information leading directly to his arrest. Brown is wanted for murder and armed robbery in Phoenix, Arizona. he is suspected of shooting and killing an armored car guard outside a movie theater.
Jason Derek Brown is on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list. The fugitive is wanted for robbery and murder after allegedly shooting armored-car guard Robert Palomares in the head outside a movie theater in Ahwatukee, Arizona. He disappeared with $56,000 in cash.
The FBI warns that Brown should be considered armed and dangerous. In fact, he may be in possession of a Glock 9mm and a .45 caliber handgun. He has close ties to California, Arizona, and Utah.
Who Is Jason Derek Brown?
Brown is the consummate conman; a Mormon, Eagle Scout, college graduate, charismatic, cocky, and arrogant. He also has rich tastes he can’t afford, including sports cars, motorcycles, and strippers.
Loud and attention-seeking, Brown frequented nightclubs where he showed off his expensive cars, boats, and other toys. He also loved to golf, snowboard, ski, and ride dirt bikes.
Despite the flashy lifestyle and tastes, his childhood was as ordinary as possible.
Brown was born in Los Angeles, California in 1969. He went to Laguna Beach High School. It was there that Brown alleged he was “a varsity golfer.” But probably not. Bill Darnell, the school’s then golf coach, said Brown never played for him, and “He was in and out of the principal’s office a lot.” The team’s best player, John Gilles, has no memory of Brown either.
Brown was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
He was sent to Paris, France in 1988 to 1990 to serve his two-year mission. As expected, he speaks fluent French.
In letters sent to his grandparents from different towns in France, Brown wrote about his Mormon desire to “follow the rules,” and be the “best missionary” possible.
Brown also said he wanted to baptize more and more converts, including a Catholic priest, “just for a good souvenir of wonderful France.”
After returning to California, Brown settled down in Laguna Beach, got married, and earned his master’s degree in international business.
Jason Derek Brown’s Father
Then his father, David John Brown Sr., disappeared in 1994.
On September 1, 1994, when he was 51 years old, Brown Sr. told his family to sell everything, because he was leaving and not coming back.
Brown Sr. left his home in Dana Point, California, and his family and friends haven’t seen him since.
It was at that point that Jason Derek Brown’s life took a turn.
Life as a Conman
He left his wife, stopped going to church, and got more interested in luxury cars, alcohol, women, Las Vegas, and drugs. He also started moving around, going from Orange County, to Salt Lake City, to Phoenix, to Austin.
While in Salt Lake City, he operated two businesses out of his home: Toys Unlimited, and On the Doorstep Advertising.
Brown liked to live a lavish lifestyle but he was, according to FBI investigators, a “$30,000 millionaire.” His two Salt Lake City businesses were scams, and he never worked a full day in his life.
How did he front his image as a playboy? Police think he ran check and bank fraud scams. Before graduating to first-degree murder, Brown was known to police as a thief.
In January 2000, Brown and a friend entered Under Par, a golf store in Reidsville, North Carolina. While the owner was distracted, Brown stuffed three drivers down his pants, valued at $299 each, and walked out the door.
Police were called and the two were stopped along Highway 14, north of Reidsville. The conviction did little to stop Brown, though.
He continued his conman ways, boasting of a privileged lifestyle with expensive cars, vacations, and beautiful women. But he couldn’t afford any of it. He racked up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and defaulted on cars, boats, houses, and rental agreements.
It was his inability to live a lifestyle he believed he was entitled to, but couldn’t afford, which led him to murder.
November 29, 2004 – Jason Derek Brown Commits Murder
Brown was living in a hotel close to the AMC Ahwatukee 24 theater in the Phoenix suburb of Ahwatukee. In the days leading up to the murder, he bought a Glock semi-automatic 45-caliber pistol.
He also took a four-hour firearms class in Salt Lake City.
Clark Aposhian, Brown’s instructor, said he was “an obnoxious student” inexperienced with firearms who was more concerned about his appearance than how he could handle a gun.
Brown returned to Arizona, after which point he graduated to robbery homicide.
It is alleged that Brown cased the Ahwatukee theater for weeks, timing the arrival of an armored car.
On the morning of November 29, Brown went at the theater and paced around, waiting for the armored truck to arrive. At around 10:00 a.m., two armored guards came to pick up the Thanksgiving holiday receipts at the movie theater.
One guard stayed inside the vehicle, while the other, Keith Palomares, 24, went inside to get a bag containing $56,000 in cash. It’s alleged Brown lay in wait near the ticket booth.
As Palomares left the theater, he was ambushed by a man in a black hooded sweatshirt. A bulletproof vest didn’t help the guard; he was shot five times in the head with a .45-caliber handgun.
The shooter fled with the money down a back alley where he had stashed a mountain bike.
Palomares, who had been married for just one year, was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
Police located the abandoned mountain bike nearby, and found a fingerprint on it. The print matched that of a man arrested on a felony charge for stealing three golf clubs in 2000, aka Jason Derek Brown.
After the murder, Brown drove his BMW 280 northwest to Henderson, Nevada. He deposited $2,000 into his bank account the next morning, and then drove 20 minutes north to Las Vegas. There, he swapped his BMW for a black Cadillac Escalade he had in storage.
Incredibly, he drove to Orange County, California, where he lived with family and friends until December 6, 2004. He was staying at his sister’s home in Rancho Santa Margarita, California when he got a call, packed, and left.
The FBI announced that Brown was their suspect, and his photograph was broadcast on different television stations. The FBI got to his sister’s place at 11:00 p.m., but they just missed him.
Roughly a month later, Brown’s Cadillac was located in the long-term parking lot at the Portland International Airport. It was there that the case went cold.
The last confirmed sighting of Brown occurred in August 2008, when an old friend said he spotted Brown at a stoplight near the Hogel Zoo in Salt Lake City.
Brother Convicted for Tampering with Evidence
Before going off the grid in Portland, it is believed that Brown mailed a package with clothes and golf equipment to his brother in San Diego.
In April 2005, the FBI arrested David John Brown II, the brother of Jason Derek Brown, on an obstruction of justice charge.
Authorities said David Brown may have helped his brother escape. They also alleged that he tampered with evidence when he drove the BMW from a storage locker in Nevada to California on December 26, 2004, washing the interior and exterior of the car.
David Brown claimed he knew nothing about a storage locker. But authorities were able to show he did. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in 2007, and was sentenced to three years of probation.
Where Is Jason Derek Brown?
So, where is Jason Derek Brown? According to the FBI, there have been well over 200 sightings of Brown, including possible sightings in Canada.
There are a lot of theories. His long-suffering ex-wife, Lisa Von Ritter, believes Jason Derek Brown is dead, but that the body has never been identified. Possible, but the FBI say numerous tests on unidentified bodies have not matched Brown’s DNA.
With so many people looking for him, chances are good that he’s living in a big city, where he can blend in. Small-town living is not up his alley, and he’s certainly not a survivalist.
Brown could be living among Mormons in Utah or even western Canada. He understands the religious culture and could easily blend in. Others speculated that he is on the run and living with his father. Fluent in French, Brown could even be living in Quebec or another French-speaking region.
The fact is, Brown is a con man and could be living anywhere, duping whoever he is with.
He is charming, social, and loves to go out and drink. He enjoys golf, skiing, snowboarding, strippers, and riding ATVs and dirt bikes. He’s also fastidious; loves his house to be extremely neat and tidy, and makes sure all visitors take their shoes off before entering.
Wherever Brown is, chances are good he’s armed. It’s safe to say that he is terrified of going to jail. It’s also safe to say Brown would not allow himself to be taken alive.
He’s been on the run now since 2004, and is, so far, good at avoiding detection. But even a vain individual like Brown, if he’s still alive, could make a mistake.
For a physical description of Brown and more age-enhanced photos estimating what he might look like now, read the wanted poster at this link: Jason Derek Brown Wanted Poster.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $200,000 to anyone who provides a tip that results in Brown’s arrest.