MURRIETA – A man with an extensive criminal history – who is also on parole – was arrested April 14, following an investigation into an attempted auto theft, witnessed by a Murrieta Police officer, according to a police official.
The officer was patrolling in the area of Bladen Avenue and California Oaks Road, in Murrieta at 12:20 a.m., when he observed a vehicle parked in the middle of the street. The officer saw both the vehicle’s doors were open and the vehicle was unoccupied.
As the officer stopped to investigate the suspicious vehicle, he observed two men standing near the a truck that was parked along the curb. The men “appeared to be tampering with the parked truck,” Murrieta Police Lieutenant Conrad said.
As the two men saw the officer approaching, they “quickly returned to their vehicle and fled from the scene,” according to Conrad.
The officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle and activated his emergency overhead lights. The suspects refused to stop and fled the area at a high rate of speed. Based on the suspicious circumstances, the officer initiated a pursuit of the fleeing vehicle.
The two alleged suspects entered the northbound I-215 freeway and continued into the city of Menifee.
During the dangerous pursuit, the suspect reportedly drove in an extremely reckless manner, without regard for the safety of citizens or the pursuing officers. “The driver of the suspect vehicle showed blatant disregard for public safety by running several red lights, driving erratically on the freeway and even driving on the wrong side of the road,” Conrad explained.
During the high-speed pursuit, the officer was able to obtain the license plate of the suspect’s vehicle. Based on the “extremely reckless driving and excessive speeds,” officers terminated the pursuit for public safety reasons.
After officers terminated the pursuit, they returned to the scene of the original incident on Bladen Street. During their investigation, officers confirmed the alleged suspects had “punched the steering column” in an apparent attempt to steal the vehicle, described as a 2005 GMC truck. “Their efforts to steal the vehicle were clearly interrupted by the Murrieta Patrol Officer,” according to Conrad.
Information regarding the incident and the license plate of the vehicle that fled were forwarded to the Murrieta Police Detective Bureau for follow-up.
That same day, officials from the multi-agency Riverside Auto Theft Interdiction Detail took over the investigation. RAID is made up of officers, detectives and other officials from California Highway Patrol, Riverside Sheriff’s Department, Riverside Police Department, Murrieta Police Department, Indio Police Department, National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Department of Insurance.
A records check on the license plate obtained by the officer during the pursuit revealed the registered owner vehicle that fled was registered to a Sun City resident, identified as 38-year-old, Jeremy Nieves Phillips.
Officers conducted a further records check and learned Phillips was on “active parole for robbery and had a very extensive criminal history of auto theft, robbery, felony evading, weapons and narcotics violations,” According to Conrad.
Officers went to Phillip’s known address and located and detained the alleged suspect. He was positively identified by the pursuing officer as the driver of the vehicle that fled earlier that morning.
Based on their investigation, detectives arrested Phillips for attempted auto theft, felony evading and violation of parole. He was booked into the Southwest Detention Center.
No information was provided regarding the second person allegedly involved in the earlier attempted vehicle theft.
A jail records search revealed Phillips was booked for suspicion of recklessly evading police, attempting to take a vehicle without the owners consent and violation of parole. He is currently being housed at the Robert Presley Detention Center and being held without bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned April 18, at the Southwest Justice Center.
Anyone with information about this arrest is encouraged to contact Murrieta Police officials at (951) 304 2677. Callers can refer to incident file number 1604M-2850 and can remain anonymous.