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At least 1 arrest made in Hemet police attacks

July 3, 2010 | 10:01 am

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef013480031a86970c-800wi

At least one arrest has been made in connection with a series of attacks targeting law enforcement officials in the Hemet area, according to authorities, who plan to provide information about "significant developments" at a Saturday news conference.

"At least one arrest [has been] made regarding the attacks on both the Regional Gang Task Force and the Hemet Police Department over the last six months," according to a statement by the Hemet Police Department.

The string of attacks have baffled investigators. In January, the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force discovered that a natural gas line had been diverted into their office, filling it with fumes, although the gas never ignited. A month later, a booby trap -- a "zip gun" -- fired a bullet at an officer when he opened a security gate.

In March, a suspicious device was attached to a gang enforcement officer's unmarked vehicle; two weeks later, four city code-enforcement trucks were torched in the Hemet City Hall parking lot. California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown visited the area that month and, with Riverside County Dist. Atty. Rod Pacheco, offered a $200,000 reward for those responsible for the attacks.

In June, authorities found a vintage military rocket on the roof of a nearby market, pointed in the direction of the police station.

Evidence collected from the scene of those attacks was stored inside a building that was set on fire last month.

Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were called in to assist with the investigation into the suspected arson fire. The FBI and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department also are involved with a task force investigating the attacks.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Police investigate one of the attacks. L.A. Times file.

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