On Sunday, Sept. 25, a man in a blue-plaid shirt, described as Hispanic in his early 50s, visited a number of Idyllwild businesses attempting to get change for $100 bills. The bills were likely counterfeit although that has not yet been confirmed. At one shop, he did manage to get change resulting in a petty theft of $100.
Reports of armed robberies proved unsubstantiated by facts. At Tarah Jade, a woman’s clothing shop on North Circle, a customer said she thought she saw a gun in the man’s waistband when he was in the shop. But a gun was never brandished or used when the man attempted to exchange his $100 bill for smaller bills.
When the employee opened the cash drawer and took money out, the man grabbed the money and fled, according to owner Shawna Risnes. Consequently, there is no $100 bill to determine its authenticity.
Deputies were on the Hill Tuesday to determine if any other businesses were hit and suffered any loss.
The incident is under investigation and as yet, the man has not been apprehended. The incident was reported just after 3 p.m. Sunday and Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies arrived after 6 p.m. They had been on their way earlier, but a large explosion in Temecula diverted them.
Petty theft under current California law is defined as unlawful taking for value under $950. Typically, sheriff’s deputies are not immediately dispatched unless a crime is underway and posing some level of danger. And under 2014 Proposition 47, thefts for value under $950 are classified as misdemeanors and would not normally require immediate deputy dispatch.
In a separate incident, three large David Roy-carved bears valued at between $12,000 and $13,000 dollars were stolen from their location at a home at the top of Upper Pine Crest Avenue. The bears were large, one topping 10 feet, and heavy. They were stolen before or during the week of Sept. 19, from in front of a residence at 55320 Upper Pine Crest. They were brightly lit at night and Upper Pine Crest at that point is basically a very quiet dead-end street. Yet immediate neighbors did not notice or report any out-of-the-ordinary activity.
Jim Brannan, Cottage Caretakers, who services the home, noticed the smaller two bears had been removed when he checked the home on Monday, Sept. 19. He noticed the largest of the three had been removed when he again checked on Thursday, Sept. 23. The part-time owner of the property reported the thefts to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Brannan said he had talked to people who walked regularly in the area and they had not noticed anything. The incident is under investigation. The carvings are iconic and unmistakeable. Anyone with information on the theft should call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Station, 951-791-3412.