A criminal investigation is underway into fresh bullet holes and spray-painted threats allegedly discovered on private property near Temecula that the public was previously warned to no longer use for target practice, authorities said Tuesday.
Evidence of the alleged threats was recovered Monday from the property that is located off an unmaintained dirt road just south of the intersection of Highway 79 South and Pauba Road in unincorporated Temecula—property that has been determined to belong to Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, Temecula police Sgt. Steve Fredericks stated in a news release.
In January, after the Riverside County Sheriff's Department put out a public service announcement that the property was off-limits, Dorland staff began erecting "No Trespassing" signs and placed barriers at access points.
Dorland staff also took steps to remove refuse and props left in the area by shooters.
This was after an extensive review of the property lines revealed it did not belong to the Bureau of Land Management and therefore was not for public entry.
"...The fact remains that it is private property and people should not be dragging their stuff back in there. The entrances are clearly marked with no-trespassing signs," said Dorland manager Jill Roberts.
The colony encompasses 300 acres and serves as a retreat for artists who expressly come to the area to work in the peaceful atmosphere it provides, according to Roberts.
Sheriff's officials were notified by Dorland that despite their efforts, "unknown persons have continued to trespass on the land, shoot holes in the signs, and remove barricades," Fredericks stated.
"On March 11, representatives from the Dorland Arts Colony found a spray-painted sign on the property which bore a specific threat to shoot the people responsible for cleaning up the property and removing items left there by target shooters, along with new bullet holes in the trespassing signage," Fredericks stated. "The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is actively investigating this matter as a felony criminal threat..."
Fredericks reminded the public that entering the private land or being present on the land without the property owner's consent, as well as discharging a firearm there, are all violations of the property owner’s rights and enforceable violations of California Penal Code section 602 and Riverside County Ordinance 10.12.010.
"(Dorland) has expressed an interest in maintaining their privacy and solitude on the property. As such, applicable laws will be strictly enforced and violators will be subject to arrest."
"Members of the community and firearms enthusiasts are encouraged to find and utilize lawful venues to pursue target shooting."
Anyone with information related to the threats allegedly made against Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, or other vandalism and trespassing occurring at the property was encouraged to contact Lt. Matt Aveling or Sgt. Steve Fredericks of the Southwest Station at 951-696-3000.