A man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing priceless cultural artifacts from a historical exhibit at Harrah’s Resort Southern California, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said.
Officials said the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians installed an exhibit in the casino in 2019 with artifacts from the Rincon Indian Reservations that are considered irreplaceable.
On May 13, a man entered the casino and forcibly opened a locked plexiglass case near the casino’s event center and stole six artifacts, officials said. Deputies from the Valley Sheriff’s Substation were called to the casino and began their investigation.
During their investigation, evidence led officials to 32-year-old Sonny Hunter.
On May 15, detectives served a search warrant at Hunter’s home in unincorporated Escondido. All stolen artifacts from the casino were located inside the home.
Hunter was arrested for burglary, grand theft and possession of stolen property.
“The stolen artifacts are highly significant to the Rincon Tribe and the Luiseño culture,” said Chairman Bo Mazzetti of the Rincon Tribe. “These pieces are considered priceless and irreplaceable, to us and our history. We wish to thank the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and our Harrah’s security team for keeping us updated throughout the investigation and working tirelessly to recover these stolen items.”
While serving the search warrant, detectives found a felony warrant suspect, unrelated to the case, hiding in the home with a loaded firearm. Donald Morrow, 37, was arrested for the warrant and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Both Hunter and Morrow were booked at the Vista Detention Facility.