Calif. cops look for leads in booby trap attacks

Hemet police arrest 16 while investigating attacks on city police


HEMET, Calif. — Hemet police and FBI agents served a series of search warrants throughout Riverside County this morning searching for leads on the attacks on Hemet police.

Police arrested and or detained 16 people this morning on suspicion of unspecified crimes. Police said no one arrested has been directly charged with any of the attacks that threatened officers or destroyed police and city property.

Since Dec. 31, the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force has been targeted at least three times. On New Year's Eve, a gas line at the Gang Task Force building was rerouted, rigging it to possibly explode. On Feb 23, a gun was attached to a gate at the same building and fired a single shot, missing an officer. On March 5th, a deadly device was attached to an officer's vehicle, but fell off in a parking lot.

Two fires are also under investigation and may be related to the attacks. Four city code enforcement vehicles were set ablaze last month just before midnight at City Hall. Last week, the Police Department's firing range was nearly destroyed in an overnight blaze. Firefighters are investigating it as suspicious.

Police said the multiple search warrants were served at 35 homes before dawn to obtain evidence related to the attacks on police.

Police seized a variety of contraband and evidence, including 16 guns.

Riverside County and state and federal officials are offering a $200,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest or conviction in the attacks.

The police department has created an anonymous tipline at 951-765-3897. Tips can also be emailed to Police have also offered to protect the identity of anyone who comes forward.

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