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Riverside County (Opens in New Window)
Press Release: Possession of Stolen Property / Extortion- Arrest
Agency: Lake Elsinore Station
Station Area: Lake Elsinore
Written Date: May 9, 2019 Time: 3:15 PM
Incident Date: January 19, 2019 Time: 8:30 PM
Incident Location: 18000 block of Collier Ave., Lake Elsinore
Reporting Officer: Sergeant Brett Seckinger
File Number(s): L190190118


Thomas Lee Hunter

On Saturday, January 19, 2019 about 8:30 p.m., a deputy assigned to the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station responded to a business on Collier Avenue reference a vehicle burglary in progress. Upon arrival to the scene, the victim advised the suspect had fled the area in a vehicle. The victim provided a physical description of the suspect and a vehicle description of the suspect vehicle, but without a vehicle license plate number. The victim reported to the deputy a specific piece of equipment was stolen from a locked truck that valued over $250,000. The case was sent to the Lake Elsinore Station Detective Bureau for follow-up. After conducting follow-up investigation, the case was suspended due to a lack of suspect leads.

On April 2, 2019, the victim contacted the detective assigned to the case and informed him he had received a telephone call from a male subject who advised he had “stumbled upon” the stolen equipment and would return it for $15,000. The investigation was re-opened and multiple investigative techniques were utilized to identify the subject offering the stolen equipment for sale.

On May 9, 2019, the Lake Elsinore station detective and assistance from the Riverside County Sheriff’s PACT team identified a suspect, made contact at a residence, conducted a probation search and recovered the stolen equipment.

The suspect, identified as Thomas Lee Hunter, 55-years old and a resident of Wildomar was booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on charges of Extortion and Possession of Stolen Property charges. 

This investigation is continuing and anyone who may have additional information is encouraged to contact Lead Investigator Michael McClanahan at the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station at 951-245-3300.

Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff's CrimeTips online form.


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