At about 2 a.m. Wednesday, May 25, three masked and as-yet-unidentified persons broke into the Idyllwild Garage lot and stole a vehicle. They broke into the lot by cutting the lock on the gate.

Surveillance video showed the individuals checking cars in the lot before selecting a 2006 silver Ford Escape with California plates. Keys were in the vehicle, according to Lt. Dan Florez of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Station.

Sometime before 8:18 a.m. when Idyllwild Garage reported the car theft, the thieves crashed the vehicle into a tree near where Tollgate Road becomes Apela Drive close to the Idyllwild Arts campus. In addition to damage to the body of the car, windows also were smashed out.

Florez did not know whether the crash created the damage to the windows or whether the thieves vandalized the car before abandoning it.

An investigation is ongoing. Florez said investigators would be using the video surveillance footage in local interviews to see if anyone could identify the thieves. Anyone with information about the burglary and car theft should call the main number at the Hemet station at 951-791-3400.