A 35-year-old man who stole a pickup truck in Hemet while allegedly in possession of methamphetamine and hid from police officers until a bloodhound tracked him down pleaded guilty Tuesday to receiving a stolen vehicle and was immediately sentenced to 24 months probation.

Felix Alexis Nieves of Hemet admitted the felony count under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. In exchange for his admission, prosecutors dropped a related charge.

The plea deal was announced during a status hearing before Superior Court Judge Elaine Kiefer at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. The judge certified the terms of the agreement and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense. In addition to probation, Kiefer sentenced Nieves to 180 days in a sheriff’s work release program in lieu of jail.

According to the Hemet Police Department, at about 10 p.m. on July 13, 2022, 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 reached the location, the driver — Nieves — sped away, police said.

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

Investigators said K9 unit bloodhound “Duke” and his handler were deployed to conduct a search of the surroundings, and Duke ferreted out Nieves, who was trying to conceal himself in brush within the 36500 block of Alta Mesa Drive.

Police said the defendant was carrying 60 grams of meth when he was taken into custody without incident.

The pickup was returned to the owner.

Nieves has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

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