Raul Lomeli

Lomeli

An Idaho Falls man has been charged with compounding a felony for his role in the theft of a construction company’s skid steer.

Raul Lomeli, 33, reportedly accepted money from Ryan Hilliard, 33, to stay silent on the theft after the skid steer was taken from a construction site in October 2018.

Western States Cat contacted the skid steer’s rightful owner in May after Hilliard brought it in for service. Hilliard was charged with grand theft.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Hilliard told Idaho Falls Police Department officers he bought the skid steer from Lomeli and suspected it was stolen, but did not know it was for certain. He showed detectives messages between himself and Lomeli in which Lomeli asks for money for the “cat.”

Lomeli originally told police the text messages were about unpaid wages, not the skid steer. However, he then said Hilliard told him to pick up the skid steer, and that he believed it belonged to Hilliard.

When the skid steer was reported stolen, Hilliard reportedly offered Lomeli $5,000 to not mention it to anyone. Lomeli said the text messages Hilliard showed police were about the hush money.

Lomeli was charged with compounding a felony, punishable with up to five years in prison. He was released from jail Tuesday on pretrial supervision. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Bonneville County Courthouse.

A jury trial in Hilliard’s case in December ended with a hung jury. A new trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 12.