PERRIS – Sheriff’s deputies may have broken up a burglary ring, but chasing down three suspects resulted in twice ramming into a police vehicle early Tuesday morning.
Investigators are searching for a fourth suspect who escaped in connection with a recent string of thefts from model homes in a new housing development in nearby Menifee, said police.
A Menifee police sergeant spotted a red Dodge pickup in the 28000 block of Pacific Court during patrol. As the sergeant drove toward the truck, four men jumped in and fled, according to a news release.
The sergeant chased the truck which crashed through a fence into a nearby construction area. The truck backed up, colliding with the sergeant’s patrol car, Menifee Sgt. Dan Kelly said.
In a release, Kelly said the driver then pulled forward, turned around and drove directly at the patrol car again, this time striking the driver’s side door.
Corporal Coutney Donowho couldn’t say whether the sergeant, who has yet to be identified, was injured during the collisions. Nor would she comment on his current condition.
“They (suspects) had been targeting model homes,” she said, “taking appliances … standard appliances” such as stoves and heaters, among other items.
While the pursuit continued into Perris, the truck stopped at Delines Dr. and Metz Rd., the men fleeing. Aid from a Hemet-based K-9 unit resulted in the capture of two men at the scene, while a third was caught nearby, said Kelly.
Juaquin Lopez-Arreola, 26, Eriberto Sanchez, 31, and Andres Verdugo were taken into custody. A fourth suspect, described as a Latino around 30-years-old with a shaved head and dark clothing, escaped capture.
“There’s no update yet,” said Donowho, “on the fourth suspect. It’s still an active investigation.”
The three were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, attempted residential burglary, evading a police officer, reckless driving and conspiracy to commit a felony. Bail was set at $25,000 for each suspect.
The three were in custody at the Southwest Detention Center in French Valley.
The Press-Enterprise: MENIFEE: Three accused of ramming deputy’s car