Woman arrested for robbing home of professor killed in UNLV shooting

Bianca Hernandez, 30, was arrested for an alleged burglary at the home of Naoko Takemaru

Martha McHardy
Thursday 04 January 2024 17:11 GMT
UNLV shooting suspect captured on video after deadly rampage

A woman has been arrested in connection with a break-in at the home of a professor who was killed in a shooting on the UNLV campus in December.

Bianca Hernandez, 30, was apprehended after police received a report that someone had broken into a home in the 3900 block of Deer Haven Court in Las Vegas.

According to Clark County property records, the home belonged to Naoko Takemaru, the late associate professor of Japanese studies who was one of three people killed in a shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas last month.

A search warrant stated that Takemaru lived in the same block as Ms Hernandez, KTNV reported.

Witnesses told Channel 13 they saw a woman leaving the property before she was approached by a neighbor who asked her why she was there. She then told the neighbor to “mind her own business” and got into a black truck with two men who were wearing masks, according to reports.

Police then arrived at the property where they found several cabinets and medicine cabinets left open, according to an incident report.

Detectives said Ms Hernandez had posted online with the intent to sell items that were taken during the burglary.

Bianca Hernandez, 30, who was arrested for allegedly breaking into the home of slain UNLV professor Dr Naoko Takemaru
Bianca Hernandez, 30, who was arrested for allegedly breaking into the home of slain UNLV professor Dr Naoko Takemaru (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

Ms Hernandez is now facing several charges, including residential burglary, buying/possessing/receiving stolen property, and conspiracy to commit burglary.

Jail records show Ms Hernandez is scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Thursday.

Dr Takemaru was a noted scholar, author and award-winning educator, who worked as a member of UNLV’s faculty for 20 years before she was shot and killed by a gunman in December.

She coordinated Japanese language programs and taught numerous courses on Japanese culture, business and language.

Dr Naoko Takemaru
Dr Naoko Takemaru (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Following her death, UNLV president Keith Whitfield described her as “incredibly dedicated to her students”, having earned the premier teaching award from the College of Liberal Arts.

Two other faculty members, professor Cha Jan Chang, 64, and assistant professor Patricia Navarro Velez, 39, were also killed in the shooting.

Police named 67-year-old Anthony Polito, a career college professor who had applied for – but failed to be accepted for – a job at UNLV, as the suspect in the shootings.

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