A man and woman were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of several crimes following an investigation that allegedly began with a stolen purse.
Chad Depasquale, 28, of Menifee, and Darcie Freeman, 25, of Temecula, were picked up by deputies at the Walmart on Temecula Parkway a day after they allegedly stole a Pechanga employee’s purse, wallet and car.
The investigation began Monday when deputies responded to the Pechanga Resort and Casino regarding alleged theft of personal property and a vehicle, according to a report from Sgt. Jon Wade of the Temecula Police Department.
A purse belonging to a Pechanga employee was stolen from a housekeeping cart while the worker was on the job, according to Wade’s report. Inside of the purse were the employee's wallet and keys to her 2010 Honda Accord, he added.
As deputies were investigating, the victim discovered her car was gone, and as she cancelled her missing credit cards, she learned the plastic had been used at department stores within Riverside County, Wade reported.
The next day an officer from the Temecula Police Department was flagged down by a citizen in the Temecula Walmart parking lot, Wade continued.
“The citizen reported that a male and female had observed the police car enter the parking lot and began running and hiding from the officer. A description was given to the officer and the subjects were located,” Wade said.
The officer spotted the suspects attempting to hide near the front of a department store, the sergeant explained.
“As the officer approached the subjects, the male dropped an item on the ground and began to walk away. The item was later inspected and discovered to be illegal drugs,” Wade said.
The man and woman—later identified as Depasquale and Freeman--were both arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of an illegal drug and possession of an illegal drug, Wade said.
During a search of Depasquale, the officer found keys to the stolen Honda, along with credit cards belonging to the Pechanga employee.
“An additional officer responded to the [arrest] location with a police unit equipped with an ‘Automatic License Plate Reader,’” Wade said. “Within a few minutes, the victim's stolen vehicle was located in the parking lot a short distance from where the suspects were contacted. Further investigation determined Depasquale and Freeman arrived in the stolen vehicle.”
According to the sergeant, Depasquale was on probation, both in Orange County and Riverside County, and was currently out of custody on bail from an unrelated case. Both Depasquale and Freeman were transported to Southwest Detention Center.
While being booked, Freeman attempted to smuggle illegal narcotics into the jail facility, the sergeant said. The drugs were confiscated and Freeman was booked on suspicion of being under the influence of an illegal drug, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and bringing an illegal controlled substance into a jail facility, Wade said.
Depasquale was booked on suspicion of grand theft auto, possession of stolen property, violation of probation, committing a crime while on bail, possession of methamphetamine and being under the influence of an illegal drug, Wade said.