Officers from the Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and Thermal Station Special Enforcement Teams worked closely with metal theft investigators concerning an ongoing investigation into numerous backflow valve and fire hydrant thefts happening throughout the Coachella Valley.
Information obtained during their investigation focused officer’s attention on 56-year-old Coachella resident Rigoberto Flores and 35-year-old La Quinta resident Carlos Tapia as persons of interest.
Following a lengthy investigation, Flores and Tapia were arrested after special team’s members caught the two in the act of stealing more backflow valves on the 72300 block of Victory lane, in Rancho Mirage. Investigators connected Flores and Tapia to a multitude of other past thefts occurring in the cities of Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and La Quinta.
Tapia and Flores were booked into the Riverside County Jail, located in the city of Indio, on several metal theft and vandalism related charges.