$25K bail set for Vista jail nurse accused of vandalism, attempted burglary


The Vista Detention Facility is seen in a Google Maps image.

VISTA (CNS) – A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department employee accused of trying to break into a Vista business last month pleaded not guilty Thursday to attempted burglary and vandalism charges.

Estella Velez, a 54-year-old licensed vocational nurse at the Vista Detention Facility, was arrested last week, along with 44-year-old Raul Rios, on suspicion of crimes that include burglary and identity theft.

Rios and Velez were allegedly seen on video surveillance in two attempted commercial burglaries at a business in the 1700 block of East Vista Way in Vista, sheriff’s Lt. Nancy Blanco said.

Deputy District Attorney Janice Tang alleged that on July 21, Rios used an unspecified tool to attempt to break into the business, while Velez acted as a lookout. Two days later, the pair returned to the business to try to break in again, the prosecutor alleged.

The sheriff’s department also alleged in a prior news release that Velez was arrested in connection with an identity theft investigation related to a stolen credit card, though no identity theft charges were filed Thursday.

The sheriff’s department said a purse was taken from the 5500 block of Mission Road in Bonsall on July 10, and one of the victim’s cards was subsequently used at various North County locations.

On July 29, both defendants were booked into county jails.

Velez’s bail was set at $25,000, while Rios, who also pleaded not guilty to additional charges of attempted burglary, vandalism and being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition, was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Both defendants are due back in court Sept. 9 for a readiness conference.

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