LA QUINTA, Calif. - La Quinta police officers arrested a man after neighbors complained of his erratic behavior, including walking up and down the street carrying a semi-automatic weapon. Officers took 35-year-old Daniel Conover into custody on a felony charge for carrying a loaded weapon. "It is very scary, like you're turning your back and you're looking out towards your neighbors house if you have to look out," said Nelda Esmeralda, one of his neighbors.
She describes feeling targeted in her own home. She says Conover's strange behavior began when he thought someone stole from him. "He was so upset that I thought you know, it's worth hearing because if there are break-ins," said Esmeralda. "I need to hear about them because I live right next door."
In a letter we obtained, Lieutenant David Walton of the La Quinta police department wrote to city manager Frank Spevacek about the situation. The letter calls Conover's concerns "baseless accusations." The letter also addresses complaints from neighbors that they saw him walking up and down Avenida Alvarado with a semi-automatic weapon. That's when someone called the police. "Well, it's very scary, there's just too many things happening nationwide and this was extremely real," said Esmeralda.
The letter says officers began surveillance of the area as well as putting patrols near the block. While they investigated, Esmeralda took her own safety measures, installing surveillance cameras and even asking her guest house renter to move temporarily, because she thought he was being targeted. "I had to ask this individual to leave the premises for his own safety," said Esmeralda.
Officers arrested Conover days later without incident. The letter says during a search of his home, officers found nine firearms, about 5,000 rounds of ammunition and a ballistic vest. "I just thought, what is he planning to do, what is he planning to do?" said Esmeralda.
Conover was released on $5,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 27.
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