HIGHLAND – San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies arrested squatters who produced a phony rental agreement, but uncovered a variety of other possible criminal activities on July 18.
Tomm Lanese, 49, Donald Savage, 33, and Salvador Rodriguez, 35, will appear in court at various times this week facing charges of identity theft and possession of stolen property, among other possible charges. Shortly after 6 p.m. on July 18, deputies checked on reports of possible squatters at a vacant residence on the 28000 block of Carriage Hill R.d.
Deputies found Lanese, Savage and an unidentified 16-year-old female, discovering the trio had moved into the residence illegally. “They attempted to use a forged rental document as proof of tenancy,” said Sgt. James Porter, “but deputies learned the home was for sale and had never been rented to any of the parties.” All three suspects, found to have active warrants, were arrested.
Investigators later discovered forged identification cards, multiple credit card readers and magnetic imprinters, plus numerous forged checks and computers used in the forgery process, said Porter. Personal identifying information, he said, of an estimated 20 victims from multiple California locations was discovered inside the home and in a vehicle belonging to the suspects. Savage and Lanese were booked on multiple felony counts relating to the identity theft and taken to Central County Detention Center in neighboring San Bernardino.
One day later, continued investigation determined that Rodriguez, who had additional evidence linking him to the identity theft organization. He was arrested on related charges in addition to parole violation, said Porter.
Rodriguez was also charged with multiple counts and taken to Central Detention Center. Victims range in area from Newport Beach in Orange County to the Inland Empire (San Bernardino County) and out to the Coachella Valley (Riverside County), says Porter.
Investigators were continuing the investigation by contacting victims of these crimes, working to determine how the suspects were able to come into possession of personal identification information and account numbers, said Porter, who said that Deputy Mike Madril was conducting the investigation.