Three men suspected of plotting to burglarize homes evacuated due to the Valley Fire were arrested Thursday morning, authorities said.
According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, the men were wearing a combination of all-black and camouflage clothing when officers stopped the pickup truck they were traveling in at about 3 a.m. near Hidden Valley Lake.
The men told police they were trying to get fuel, but they didn’t know exactly where they were going, which made deputies suspicious. That, and the scent of marijuana, prompted deputies to search the vehicle. When they did, they found a loaded .40 caliber pistol, “a full face concealing mask, 3 pairs of gloves, tools, duct tape, zip ties, numerous key rings with keys, acetone, lighter, headlamps, flashlights, binoculars, empty plastic bags, empty garbage bags, backpack and large knives,” according to a news release.
All three men denied burglarizing homes, deputies said.
The driver, 23-year-old Dyami Connell, of Brisbane, was arrested for possession of burglary tools, entering a closed disaster area, having a concealed unregistered firearm with ammunition, carrying a concealed firearm, carrying a loaded firearm in public and conspiracy to commit a crime. The two passengers, identified as 28-year-old Michael Jimenez, also of Brisbane, and 23-year-old David Cesari, of San Francisco, both were arrested and accused of entering a closed disaster area and conspiracy to commit a crime.
The men were booked into the Lake County Hill Road Correctional Facility. Their bail was set at $100,000.