Felon Charged with Stealing a Half-Dozen Travel Trailers in Temecula Area

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

MURRIETA (CNS) – A convicted felon accused of stealing multiple travel trailers from businesses in southwest Riverside County was charged Friday with a half-dozen counts of receiving stolen vehicles.

Jessie Villalpando of Lake Elsinore was arrested Tuesday night following a sheriff’s department investigation.

Along with the theft counts, Villalpando is charged with a sentence- enhancing allegation of causing damage during a felony theft.

The defendant, who is being held in lieu of $40,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center, was slated to make his initial court appearance Friday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Hephner, on March 8, deputies were sent to a storage facility in the 44600 block of Pechanga Parkway in Temecula to investigate the theft of a 2021 Forest River travel trailer.

Witnesses described a heavyset man in a white pickup hitching up and driving away with the trailer, Hephner said.

He said that investigators soon learned of similar thefts over the previous month at the same site, resulting in the three other travel trailers being taken.

“Through investigative leads and video surveillance, (investigators) positively identified the suspect in each incident as Villalpando,” Hephner said. “The suspect vehicles primarily utilized during the thefts were determined to be a 2022 Dodge Ram pickup with Florida plates and a 2020 Toyota Tundra pickup with California plates.”

The sergeant said that the defendant was located Tuesday night in the 30600 block of Briggs Road in Menifee, where he was taken into custody without incident.

“He was in possession of two additional stolen trailers … a utility box trailer and a 28-foot travel trailer,” Hephner said, noting that a total of seven stolen trailers were seized.

Sheriff’s personnel served search warrants at multiple storage units in Villalpando’s name and seized more stolen property, Hephner alleged.

Investigators believe the defendant may be responsible for thefts going back to November, according to Hephner.

“It is believed there are additional victims who have not yet been identified,” he said.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s Southwest Station at 951-696-3032.

According to court records, Villalpando has prior convictions for spousal abuse, possession of controlled substances and driving on a suspended driver’s license.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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