Two men allegedly spotted lurking around parked vehicles near the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival while carrying a hammer and loaded gun were free on bail Tuesday, but police said they’re investigating if the pair were involved in multiple weekend vehicle break-ins near the event.
Mario Perez, 18, and Richard Campos, 21, both of Indio, were spotted around 9:45 p.m. Monday acting suspiciously near parked vehicles in a lot at 46- 601 Arabia St., Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said.
When officers approached the men, the pair fled, leading to a short foot pursuit, but both suspects were caught at Dr. Carreon Boulevard and Arabia Street, Guitron said. He said a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun and a hammer were recovered.
Both men were booked into the Indio jail just before 1 a.m., according to jail records. Perez was booked on suspicion of conspiracy to indict another falsely of a crime and carrying a concealed weapon, jail records show. He was later released on $10,000 bail.
Campos was booked on suspicion of five felonies, including conspiracy to commit a crime, carrying a concealed weapon and violation of probation, according to jail records. He was released on $50,000 bail.
Guitron said officers are investigating whether the pair were involved in several vehicle burglaries that occurred near the county fairgrounds since the festival began Friday. Investigators did not specify how many vehicle break-ins had occurred, but police deployed another half-dozen officers to the perimeter of the fairgrounds over the holiday weekend in response to the crimes.
Police reminded the public to park in well-lit designated areas during events, and to make sure valuable items are stored out of sight.
The 73rd annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival will continue through Sunday.