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Police search for car thief who left wallet behind

The Desert Hot Springs Police Department is searching for a man who evaded arrest after fleeing officers in a stolen pickup truck early Monday morning.

At about 1:50 a.m., an officer stopped a Ford F-250 in the 66400 block of Estrella Avenue due to several vehicle code violations. According to the release, the driver got out of the truck and made movements toward the bed of the pickup, and then ran back inside the truck and sped away.

The man just missed hitting the officer and his patrol car, police said.

A second officer arrived and began chasing the suspect. The man continued speeding through city streets and eventually crashed in the southwest parking lot of Cabot Yerxa Elementary School, located at 67067 Desert View Avenue.

Police said the suspect fled on foot through the desert, just south of the school, and was able to evade officers.

Fortunately for police, the suspect left his wallet behind so officers were able to identify him as Jose Manuel Castillo of Indio. Castillo is described as Hispanic, 5’7″ and 185 lbs. His age wasn’t listed in the release.

He was last seen wearing a white shirt and light-colored pants.

Police said the pickup truck Castillo was driving was reported stolen out of Cathedral City on November 28.

Officers found a loaded firearm in the truck with a round chambered. The officer said the gun was found close to where the suspect was moving toward after initially being pulled over.

The Desert Hot Springs Police Department continues to search for Castillo. Officers said he should be considered armed and dangerous.

If you have any information about the suspect or the crime, call police at (760) 329-2904.

KESQ News Team

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