Press Releases

Southwest Station

Posted on: October 28, 2022

Agriculture Theft Investigation and Arrest

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Riverside County Sheriff's Department Press Release

Reporting Deputy: Sergeant Frank Rice

File # D-223010024

Details:

Elder Funes
Elder Tomas Funes

Throughout September and October 2022, the Southwest Riverside County agricultural businesses experienced a rash of thefts from our local wineries, farms, dairies, and equestrian centers, including multiple light thefts, vehicle thefts, and commodity (hay and feed) thefts.

On Friday, October 28, 2022, the Riverside County Agriculture (AG) Team, along with deputies from the Temecula Community Outreach Resources Engagement Team (CORE), Gang Task Force, and Southwest Station command staff, executed a search warrant at a business in the 39000 block of Cactus Valley Road in Hemet. The search warrant was related to agricultural theft of alfalfa hay from a business (Galway Downs) throughout September and October. In the latest theft on October 27, 2022, the suspect stole a total of $1000 in alfalfa hay. The AG Team used multiple investigative tools and conducted multiple follow-up investigations that enabled them to locate the stolen alfalfa hay and return it to Galway Downs.

As a result of the search warrant, Elder Tomas Funes, a 20-year-old male, was arrested and booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center.

In 2019, Sheriff Bianco formed the Agriculture (AG) Team, which has been assisting with these various theft investigations in order to seek out the perpetrators of these crimes. The AG Team has been involved with multiple investigations and has been successful in not only catching the suspects, but returning the stolen property back to the rightful owner.

Anyone with additional information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Sergeant Frank Rice of the Riverside County AG Team at 951-217-4560 or via email at frice@riversidesheriff.org.

For media inquiries regarding this incident please contact the Media Information Bureau.

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