Lake Elsinore, California - On September 27, 2015, at 6:24 AM, officers were dispatched to the area of East Lakeshore Drive and Townsend Street reference a report of a vehicle observed leaving the
roadway and entering Lake Elsinore.
At 6:26 AM, officers arrived at the location and were unable to locate the vehicle.
Through further investigation, officers learned an ongoing domestic dispute had been occurring at a nearby residence. The dispute began the previous evening and ended when the suspect, later identified as Lyle Joseph Howard (age 28 and transient), took his girlfriend's rental car without her permission.
Upon returning to the residence this morning, Howard and the victim continued the dispute. Howard responded by placing the vehicle in drive. The unoccupied vehicle then traveled down the roadway and into the nearby lake. Although a search of the area was conducted, the vehicle could not be located.
At 7:15 AM, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Underwater Search and Rescue team was contacted. The vehicle was later located, unoccupied, submerged under approximately seven feet of water and recovered from the lake. Howard was subsequently arrested for vehicle theft and felony vandalism. He was later booked at the Southwest Detention Center.
Anyone with additional information is urged to call Riverside County Sheriff's dispatch at (951) 776-1099, or the Lake Elsinore Police Department at (951) 245-3300.