Three Men Charged in Fire Hydrant Thefts Across Coachella Valley

Three Men Charged in Fire Hydrant Thefts Across Coachella Valley

Ceci Partridge

Nearly a dozen felony charges were filed Thursday against a man accused of stealing more than $45,000 worth of fire hydrants and hydrant parts across three Coachella Valley cities.

Lance Kinsler, 47, is accused in “multiple fire hydrant and fire hydrant cap thefts in the cities of La Quinta, Coachella and Indio,” said sheriff’s Sgt. David Smith.

Kinsler was arrested about 3:30 a.m. Monday, along with Cole Thomas, 32, after they were seen “removing fire hydrant caps and the bolts holding a fire hydrant to the ground” near the area of Avenue 50 and Jackson Street in Indio, Smith alleged.

Kinsler was charged with nine counts of grand theft and one count each of attempted grand theft and receiving stolen property, while Thomas faces a single felony count of attempted grand theft.

The investigation led deputies to a home in the 52000 block of Calle Techa, where a third man was taken into custody Monday, according to the sergeant, who said detectives found additional fire hydrant parts at the residence. Richard Morales, 54, faces a single felony count of receiving stolen property.

All three men were due in an Indio courtroom Thursday afternoon for arraignment.