A man who allegedly served as a lookout while his brother attempted to break into a Palm Springs sunglasses store after hours last fall was arrested today by sheriff’s deputies.
Philip Robert Yeakel, 56, of Desert Hot Springs, is accused of keeping watch while his younger brother allegedly made an unsuccessful attempt to drill through the front door lock of Sunglasses of Palm Springs, 152 N. Palm Canyon Drive, last Oct. 18.
Michael Jay Yeakel, 54, of Torrance, is also accused of stealing about $6,000 worth of sunglasses from the store earlier that summer and months later, trying to break into a Palm Springs home. He has been in custody since last month, while his sibling was arrested by Riverside County deputies at an unspecified location early this morning, according to county jail records.
Michael Yeakel allegedly used a reciprocating saw on June 29, 2017, to gain access to Sunglasses of Palm Springs, according to an arrest warrant declaration. Store surveillance footage captured him breaking in through the front door and taking merchandise from the display cases, the declaration alleges.
On Oct. 18, he allegedly returned to the store, this time with his brother in tow, but was unable to get through the front door. He was captured on surveillance footage wearing a clown mask and appearing “visibly frustrated” with his failed attempts to use “a crow bar and other power tools” to break into the business, the declaration alleges. His sibling, also wearing a mask, served as a lookout while he worked on the door, police allege.
Michael Yeakel is accused in a separate case of trying to break into a Palm Springs home that same day. He was arrested as he emerged from “a row of bushes” along a Berne Drive home, and later “admitted to trying to force open a door to steal a fan inside of the residence,” an arrest warrant declaration alleges. Police said pry marks were found on one of the home’s doors.
He was arrested again in Dec. 5 for allegedly stealing a box truck, in which police later located “construction power tools, miscellaneous hand tools, and a Halloween clown mask which resembled the mask the suspect wore during the attempted burglary,” court documents show. He’s facing grand theft and vehicle theft charges in that case.
Michael has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the three separate cases, while his brother is expected to be appear in court this week on an attempted burglary charge.