Wildomar man accused of extorting money from small businesses

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A Wildomar man has been arrested for extortion and burglary. (KABC)

A Wildomar man has been arrested for extortion and burglary. Police say he has been threatening small businesses for years, and there may be more victims.

At Antone's Italian Food, customers are more like family. The local eatery has been serving the community of Riverside for more than 50 years with no problems.

Until this past March, when the business became the alleged target of Rodolfo Dehoyos.

"Anytime anyone is taking pictures of business, you get a little suspicious," said Rosanne Brungardt of Antone's Italian Food.

Brungardt says that wasn't all. She received a notice telling her she was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Dehoyos called us and said, 'I need $9,000 from you to make this go away,'" Brungardt said.

Dehoyos has since been arrested for extortion and burglary.

Rodolfo Dehoyos is seen in this mugshot photo.

"Our investigation showed that Dehoyos has never been denied access into any of these locations that he identified," said Detective Brian Money of the Riverside Police Department Economic Crimes Unit.

According to police, Dehoyos served hundreds of notices and threatened legal action if a business did not pay up. He allegedly collected upward of $140,000 in payoffs.

Investigators served a search warrant at Dehoyos' Wildomar home, which they say did not have any handicap adaptions.

Police say they collected records pertaining to Dehoyos' operations going back several years.

So far, police have identified 78 other businesses, including a gas station and a tax business.

"It's really appalling to do this on the backs of handicap people," Brungardt said.

The Riverside Police Department is asking anyone who may have been a victim to contact them at (951) 353-7118.
Related Topics:
fraudarrestWildomarRiversideRiverside County
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