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Indio man pleads not guilty to stealing truck, washing machine

An Indio man accused of stealing a truck and washing machine from a Palm Desert home, then trying to sell the appliance online within hours of the alleged theft, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to grand theft and other charges.

Dominic Castro, 40, is accused, along with Terry Howard, 26, and Jamie Swart, 30, also of Indio, in the Oct. 31 theft of a pickup truck from a home in the 73000 block of Shadow Mountain Drive.

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Hours after the victim reported the theft, the washing machine that had been in the bed of the vehicle was posted for sale online, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Kirk Steines. He said a “controlled buy” of the washer was made, resulting in the recovery of the washer and the eventual arrests of the three suspects.

Steines said deputies also recovered the stolen truck, as well as “additional stolen property and evidence related to additional commercial burglaries.”

The criminal complaint indicates that some of the recovered stolen property, which was allegedly taken on various dates surrounding the truck theft, include a Vespa, a guitar from a Guitar Center store and a Playstation video game console.

The defendants face one felony count each of grand theft and receiving stolen property, along with a misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property. Howard faces an additional count of vehicle theft.

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Howard and Swart pleaded not guilty last month, while Castro posted $40,000 bail and remains out of custody.

All three defendants will be back in court Jan. 9 for a felony settlement conference.

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