Pomona Police dog
A Pomona Police officer and dog. File photo

A 34-year-old man suspected of stealing a pickup in Hemet while in possession of methamphetamine, then hiding from police until a bloodhound tracked him down was behind bars Friday.

Felix Alexis Nieves of Hemet was arrested and booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta Thursday on suspicion of vehicle theft, possession of controlled substances, grand theft and driving on a suspended license. He was being held on $50,000 bail.

According to the Hemet Police Department, about 10 p.m. Wednesday, a resident, whose identity was not disclosed, was leaving the Walmart on South Sanderson Avenue when he noticed that his pickup was idling outside the store.

The victim had no idea that it had been taken from his residence and called 911. However, before patrol officers could reach the location, the driver — later identified as Nieves — sped away, police alleged.

A search of the area was initiated, and the pickup was found abandoned on Domenigoni Parkway.

Investigators said that K9 unit bloodhound “Duke” and his handler were deployed to conduct a search of the surroundings, and Duke ferreted out Nieves, allegedly hiding in brush along the 36500 block of Alta Mesa Drive.

Police alleged that the suspect was carrying 60 grams of meth when he was taken into custody without incident shortly after midnight Thursday.

The pickup was returned to the owner.

Background information on Nieves was not available.

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