Both men — Ryan Mason and Nickolas Melendez — charged with burglary of the Mountain Center Market in September, have pleaded guilty to burglary. Their sentencing has been deferred.
Melendez, 27, of Cabazon has his sentencing hearing scheduled for April 28.
Mason, 25, of Hemet had undergone an evaluation for possible residential substance abuse treatment prior to a Felony Settlement Conference. Judge Mark Mandio requested Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Corrections Division conduct the assessment. As a result of the report, Mason’s sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 26, while he completes a program.
He also ordered that pending enrollment and completion of the program, Mason may not be released pursuant to the agreement with the federal government regarding jail population levels.
The two men were arrested on Highway 74, just west of the U.S. Forest Service’s Cranston Ranger Station, shortly after they ransacked the ATM to get the cash.
Later, the investigation identified possible links between this break-in and a string of ATM thefts in San Bernardino County.
Both men were arrested for burglary in a coordinated effort with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. The District Attorney’s Office later filed, against both men, two charges of burglary and two charges of grand theft of more than $400,000.
The break-in occurred during the early morning hours of Monday, Sept. 14, and the security cameras that owner Shane Stewart has in all of his business locations were instrumental in the arrest.
The thieves took the ATM to McGaugh Road, where they broke into it and took the cash. The machine was found there.