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911 caller issues threat to Hemet Police Dept.

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

March 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Hemet Police Department is on heightened alert after another threat against officers. Authorities said an unidentified person called 911 Friday at about 5:45 p.m. and said a police car in the Hemet San Jacinto area would be blown up in the next 48 hours.

The caller said the attack would be in retaliation for the law enforcement sweep against the Vagos Motorcycle Club earlier in the week. At least 30 members the gang were arrested Wednesday in an interstate crackdown. The gang specializes in methamphetamine sales, identity theft and violence, Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Walter Meyer said.

However even before the sweep, there have been at least three booby trap attacks on anti-gang officers.

The first attack was on December 31. Someone rigged a gang task-force building in Hemet to blow up by rerouting a gas line, filling the building with natural gas. No one was hurt.

Then almost two months later, the building's front gate was rigged with another booby trap. This time a gun was set up to fire on the first officer to enter the building. The bullet narrowly missed the officer, and again, no one was hurt.

Just a couple of weeks ago there was a third attack. A pipe bomb was attached to an unmarked squad car. The bomb unit was called in, the device was rendered safe.

It is unclear whether or not the previous attacks were linked to the recent 911 call.

A $200 thousand reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco said those responsible for the attempted attacks on police are more like a criminal syndicate than street-gang members.

The incidents have shaken a close-knit police department already demoralized by steep budget cuts that last year saw its officer numbers slashed by a quarter to 68. Officers are checking under cars for bombs and scouting for other potential hazards.

Anyone with information on the attacks is asked to call Hemet Police at (951) 765-3897.