RIVERSIDE — A sheriff's deputy posed as a San Diego Union reporter to lure a Temecula man back into custody after investigators learned he allegedly made threatening statements about police.
Riverside County Undersheriff Roger Denman said it was the first time in his 28 years with the department that any deputy had used the reporter ruse. But he added that deputies used "sufficient logic and rationale" for the tactic in this case.
Peter Kaye, an associate editor at the Union, said: "If it became common practice for law enforcement agencies, or any agency for that matter, to act as reporters, it would definitely set a terrible precedent."
Denman acknowledged the sensitivity of having deputies pose as journalists, telling the Riverside Press-Enterprise: "I'd want it to be one of the last-resort ruses."
Daniel Frank Huber, 27, was first arrested May 2. Deputies learned Huber, who was threatening suicide, had a large cache of weapons inside his home.
After an hour of telephone negotiations, Huber walked outside with a live hand grenade, then surrendered at gunpoint.
After Huber was released from jail on bail Saturday, the Sheriff's Department learned Huber had made statements that authorities viewed as a threat against deputies, according to court documents. A judge revoked Huber's bail and raised it $1 million.
Deputies were reluctant to confront Huber at his house, so different approaches were considered, but because of Huber's alleged animosity toward deputies, officials decided that posing as a newspaper reporter would be the most effective, according to Denman.
The deputy asked Huber for an interview at a Temecula restaurant. The ruse worked, and deputies took Huber back into custody when he pulled into a restaurant parking lot.