LAKE ELSINORE – A man in a stolen tractor leads law enforcement in a slow speed chase ending in the driver’s arrest.
Under the cover of darkness in the midnight hour and into the early hours of Monday, March 24, a farm equipment bandit attempted to make a getaway. According to Sergeant Nathan Kass, the thief’s attempt at escape was thwarted when a Riverside County deputy sheriff spotted a Caterpillar Skid Steer Tractor rumbling down a public roadway near Highway 74 and Dexter Avenue. While it was strange enough to see a tractor on the move in the darkness, the vehicle was also running with no lights. This made it a danger to other vehicular traffic as well as a mystery. Deputies attempted to conduct an enforcement stop on the farm vehicle, but the driver continued to trundle eastbound on Highway 74.
Apparently, hoping to lose his tail by going off trail, the driver maneuvered onto Conard Avenue and 3rd Street, back to Highway 74 and to El Toro Cutoff. The Sheriff’s helicopter was called in to aid the chase, but the driver was still optimistic about escaping. He plowed the Caterpillar through three fences in an attempt at evasion.
Soon realizing his escape would be fruitless, German Avalos, a 25-year-old resident of Perris, abandoned the tractor. Authorities were then able to find the man on foot, who was arrested a short time later. Avalos was arrested on suspicion of auto theft, receiving stolen property and evading law enforcement and booked into the Southwest Detention Center and held in lieu of $100,000 bail, jail records state.
Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact Deputy James Martinez or Sergeant Nathan Kaas at the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station by calling 951-245-3300.
Press Enterprise: Man steals tractor, tries to evade helicopter