Five Arrested in Lake Elsinore Retail Theft Suppression Operation

In a concerted effort to combat retail theft, the Lake Elsinore Station Special Enforcement Team (SET) and Robbery Burglary Suppression Team (RBST) conducted a targeted operation at a retail store on Central Avenue in Lake Elsinore. Partnering with loss prevention staff, deputies observed multiple individuals concealing items and exiting the premises without payment.

The operation, conducted on February 21, 2024, resulted in the arrest of five individuals on charges related to theft, including petty theft, grand theft, conspiracy, and commercial burglary. Among those apprehended were:

  • Nedal Salman, 45, of Mead Valley, facing aggregated felony theft charges.
  • Joseph Mende, 41, a resident of Lake Elsinore.
  • Freddy Santillanes, 34, and Alfonso Marquez, 42, both residents of Fresno.
  • Anabelle Escobar, 37, from Menifee.

The coordinated effort led to the recovery of over $4,000 worth of stolen merchandise. Additionally, RBST and SET deputies linked one of the suspects to other thefts in Riverside County, resulting in further charges.

All individuals were transported to the Cois Byrd Detention Center and booked accordingly. Retail theft poses significant challenges for business owners, citizens, and impacts the overall quality of life in communities. The Lake Elsinore Station remains committed to addressing this issue head-on and will continue efforts to reduce theft-related crimes.

Community policing plays a crucial role in crime prevention, emphasizing partnerships between law enforcement and residents. Business owners and community members are urged to report any criminal activity directly to law enforcement through Sheriff’s Dispatch at (951) 776–1099, or by dialing 911 in case of emergencies.

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By working together, law enforcement and the community can effectively combat retail theft and uphold safety and security for all residents of Lake Elsinore and surrounding areas.

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