A 40-year-old probationer accused of burglarizing an Eastvale hardware store, stealing products later used to make a homemade pistol, must stand trial for felony burglary, a judge ruled Thursday.

Rolando Antonio Gutierres of Fontana was arrested in 2020 following a weekslong Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation into the break-in near the intersection of Milliken Avenue and Riverside Drive.

At the end of a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Superior Court Judge Walter Kubelun found there was sufficient evidence to bound Gutierres over for trial and scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Nov. 23.

Gutierres is free on his own recognizance.

His co-defendant, 36-year-old Vincent T. Poncinie of Jurupa Valley, pleaded guilty in November 2020 to felony burglary and was sentenced to a year in jail and two years probation.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ernie Esquibel, the break-in occurred on the morning of March 23, 2020, at an outlet on Milliken, just west of Interstate 15.

Esquibel alleged that the defendants forced their way onto the property, stealing $15,000 in DeWalt power tools, then fled in a 2002 Chevrolet Suburban.

Detectives used video security surveillance tape to pursue leads in the case, ultimately leading them to Gutierres and Poncinie, according to the sergeant.

Poncinie was arrested without incident three days later at a Jurupa Valley motel, where investigators seized a “ghost gun” composed of parts from the tools taken during the theft, Esquibel said.

Roughly three weeks later, detectives spotted Gutierres walking in the 9800 block of Sierra Avenue in Fontana. Esquibel said the convicted felon allegedly tried to run but was quickly apprehended.

According to court records, he has a prior conviction for distribution and sale of illegal drugs. He was on mandatory supervision for that offense when he was arrested for the burglary.

Poncinie had a prior conviction for theft.

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