Deputies are investigating a series of thefts from vehicles and homes in Temecula Valley Wine Country, including one where the suspects were carrying what appeared to be long guns, sheriff’s officials said.
There have been “numerous” thefts recently, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department news release issued Friday. The release doesn’t specify the exact number of thefts, but notes the thefts have been non-violent and mostly limited to unlocked vehicles and items left on a person’s property.
There have been a few instances where suspects have gone inside homes when residents were not there and one incident where a resident was home, but did not run into the suspects, according to the release.
A couple months ago, a photo posted on social media showed two suspects with what appeared to be long guns. Sheriff’s officials say they have reason to believe that the suspects were carrying replica guns rather than real ones, but the sheriff’s department “takes the use of all weapons seriously and treats them as authentic.”
Sheriff’s officials are recommending the public takes certain precautions to keep their items from being stolen, including locking home doors, locking vehicle doors, setting home alarms, making sure there’s enough light around structures and cars and using security surveillance.
The Sheriff’s Department also discouraged posting videos and screenshots of potential suspects on sites such as Facebook.
“Making images and evidence public can severely hamper our investigation and derail investigative avenues,” the release says.
Sheriff’s officials are asking anyone with information about thefts to call the Southwest Station at 951-696-3000.