Stolen Mail, Passports, Credit Cards: Suspected Thieves Canvassed Region, Cops Say

Police say they also found stolen property, meth, hypodermic needles​ and shaved keys to cars, which can be used to break into vehicles.

Five people were arrested this week at a Temecula hotel after police say they linked them to a series of thefts from across the region and drug use.

According to Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jon Wade, it all started around 11 a.m. Monday. The Temecula Police Department was called to the Holiday Inn on Jefferson Avenue to investigate a “suspicious” man banging on a hotel room door.

When officers go to the hotel, they first encountered two men in the back parking lot who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, the sergeant said. A records check on one of them revealed that he had warrants out for his arrest. They were both detained and identified as Anthony De La Cruz, 23, of Riverside and Jonathan Garcia, 33, of Santa Ana.

Police carried on and say they soon made a large discovery.

“Temecula Police personnel continued their investigation and checked on the wellbeing of the hotel guests,” Wade said in a news release. “Officers contacted Summer Valentin, 29, from Moreno Valley in the hotel room and discovered numerous items of stolen mail, stolen ID cards and passports, as well as illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.”

The officers then learned that Valentin had rented the hotel room using a stolen credit card and license– which had just been taken from a parked car earlier that day, Wade said.

“Numerous additional items of mail and personal property believed to be stolen from the cities of Temecula, Murrieta and Canyon Lake were recovered from the hotel room,” he added, noting that the owners of the recovered property would be contacted by authorities.

Meanwhile, while police were making their alleged discovery of mail and drugs, some more apparent associates of the hotel guests showed up.

“Kristal Santiago, 29, from Pala and Trevor White, 33, from Canyon Lake arrived at the location as the officers were conducting their investigation,” Wade said. “Both subjects appeared to be under the influence of illegal drugs and were detained.”

White was found to be driving on a suspended license and police searched his vehicle, according to Wade. There, they allegedly found even more stolen mail, suspected stolen property, methamphetamine, hypodermic needles and shaved keys to cars, which can be used to break into vehicles.

“The investigation revealed that the subjects drove around the Cities of Canyon Lake, Murrieta and Temecula,” Wade said. “The suspects checked parked cars for unlocked doors and stole items from inside the unlocked vehicles. Any credit cards obtained were then used to purchase gift cards and additional items at nearby businesses.”

All five people were eventually arrested. All but White were booked on a variety of charges of including: Identity Theft, Possession of Stolen Property, Possession of Illegal Drugs, Under the Influence of Illegal Drugs, Possession of Burglary Tools and Forgery, according to Wade and jail records.

White was booked only on misdemeanor drug charges and posted $3,500 bail on Tuesday to be released from custody, records indicate.

Everyone else remained in custody as of Friday morning.


. . . . . . . .

Leave a Reply