Inland Empire

Palm Springs man missing; suspects arrested

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two men are in custody and warrants are out for two more in an alleged plot to sell the home of a Palm Springs man who's now missing and feared dead.

Clifford Lambert has been missing for more than three months. Now police have reason to believe the 74-year-old might be dead.

"He was fairly quiet living, I would say, and a pleasant enough man," said Cliff Lemmerick, Lambert's neighbor.

Lemmerick lives across the street. He says Lambert was reported missing back in December. That's why he found it quite odd that a couple of weeks later the front gate was found wide open.

"I went over to knock on the door and I found that the door was ajar like this, so I pushed it a little bit and I hollered 'Hello, hello, hello,' and there was no answer, so I called 911," said Lemmerick.

Police think two men might have something to do with Lambert's disappearance: Kaushal Niroula and David Replogle, who both live in San Francisco. Police think they're part of an identity theft team, and they think Lambert might be only one of many victims.

Police say the suspects used Lambert's identity to wipe out his bank accounts, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars. And they even put his million-dollar home up for sale, trying to quickly sell it for far less than market value.

Lemmerick can't believe it, but says he's relieved the authorities have made two arrests.

"We were told that they were in possession of his wallet, his identification and all of his credit cards, keys to the house and to his vehicles," said Lemmerick. "Now that sounds pretty ominous."

As police make arrests and try to put this puzzle together, there's still a big question out there: What happened to Clifford Lambert?

Even though two suspects are already behind bars, Palm Springs police are looking for two other potential suspects: 67-year-old Russell Manning and 26-year-old Daniel Garcia. Police don't have pictures of these two men, but if you know where they are, you are asked to call detectives in Palm Springs.


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