A 33-year-old man was behind bars Wednesday for his alleged involvement with a 24-year-old man in vandalizing over 40 businesses with metal pellets.
Brett Michael Wellard was arrested with Chance Curtis Sawyer on suspicion of several counts of vandalism and illegal possession of a firearm, according to Sgt. Jeff Cryder from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Both suspects were Palm Desert residents.
Wellard was being held at the John J. Benoit Detention Center on $10,000 bail. Sawyer posted $10,000 bail and was released from jail on Tuesday.
Cryder said that deputies from the Palm Desert sheriff’s station responded at around 5:20 a.m. Tuesday to a report of a shooting at a business.
Upon arrival, a vehicle was seen speeding away from the area and deputies conducted an enforcement stop, Cryder said. The driver and passenger were detained as deputies investigated their possible involvement in the shooting.
A sling shot, a firearm and metal pellets were found inside of the vehicle, according to Cryder.
The Rancho Mirage Special Enforcement Team subsequently found through an investigation that over 40 other businesses were similarly vandalized with pellets in the past two months, according to Cryder. Over $150,000 was estimated as the total cost to repair the vandalized businesses’ windows.
Sawyer and Wellard were identified as the suspects and arrested on the scene.
Anyone with information on similar incidents were asked to call Deputy Kelly from the Rancho Mirage Special Enforcement Team at the Palm Desert sheriff’s station at 760-836-1623 or Deputy Earley at 760-836-1633.