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Man pleads guilty to carjacking landscaping truck

A plea deal was reached Tuesday in the case of a Thousand Palms man who brandished a knife at a driver and made off with a truck belonging to a landscaping company in May.

Gary Ryan, 29, pleaded guilty to carjacking, and admitted using a weapon during a felony and having a prior strike. The plea deal was announced on the day of the defendant’s scheduled
preliminary hearing — during which prosecutors were to put on evidence so a judge could decide if there was probable cause to send the case to trial.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 20.

Officers with the Palm Desert Police Department were called to the 36-900 block of Cook Street at about 10:40 a.m. on May 26 to the reported carjacking.

According to police, the suspect got into the truck from the passenger side and pulled a knife on the driver. The victim was able to get out of the truck safely and the suspect drove away heading southbound on Cook Street.

About four hours later, deputies received a tip that a man fitting the suspect’s description was seen walking around in the area where the carjacking occurred. Arriving deputies spotted Ryan, who immediately tried to flee, but he was quickly arrested, sheriff’s sergeant Andy Martinez said.

Investigators recovered the stolen Ford work truck and evidence of a burglary from a local hotel room, the sergeant said.

Ryan was booked into the Riverside County Jail on felony charges of carjacking, burglary and possession of stolen property.

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