Calimesa man accused of lying to deputies about hate crime

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CALIMESA (CNS) – A man accused of lying to sheriff’s deputies when he reported that two men yelled racial slurs before intentionally ramming his vehicle was behind bars today.

Aaron Souvenir, 28, of Calimesa was arrested Monday and booked at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of insurance fraud and filing a false police report, with bail set at $25,000, according to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Jaime Hernandez.

He said that on July 2, deputies responded to the area of Mesa Grande Drive and Calimesa Boulevard to investigate a report of a hate crime.

Souvenir, who is Black, showed deputies “significant damage” to the back of his vehicle, which he said was due to the ramming incident, according to Hernandez.

Sheriff’s investigators later determined that the damage did not occur as reported, and that Souvenir allegedly lied about how it happened as part of a fraudulent insurance claim he filed, the sergeant said.

Souvenier was close to completing a three-year probation term stemming from his guilty plea in a misdemeanor spousal abuse case, court records show.