A 30-year-old Thermal man was in custody Wednesday on suspicion of stealing industrial equipment, including a forklift and parts from a windmill, that were recovered from a pickup truck he allegedly abandoned while trying to evade arrest.
A deputy attempted to pull over the Dodge Ram near the 92500 block of Avenue 68 about 7 p.m. Monday, but the driver, later identified as Adrian Barajas, refused to stop, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department statement.
Barajas allegedly proceeded down a dirt road and eventually pulled over, got out of the truck and attempted to jump a fence to escape the deputy, who quickly caught up with him.
After Barajas was detained by the deputy, his truck was searched and the forklift and windmill parts were found in the bed, sheriff’s officials said. Investigators determined that Barajas had allegedly stolen a forklift and removed the parts, and that he also allegedly removed parts from a windmill located at a nearby ranch.
A records check showed that Barajas was out on bail on three felony theft cases spanning San Diego and Riverside counties, according to the sheriff’s department.
Barajas was booked at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of evading, taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, committing a felony while out on bail and grand theft of agriculture equipment, jail records show.
He remains in custody on $500,000 bail and is expected to be arraigned Thursday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.