WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — A man has been arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting multiple ponies at the New Castle County Carousel Park and Equestrian Center. New Castle County police announced the arrest of 31-year-old Michael Riego on Thursday.
Police say around 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, detectives were surveilling the equestrian center’s stables as part of an ongoing investigation when they spotted Riego looking into a pony’s stall.
According to police, Riego entered the stall and tied up the pony’s rear legs. Police then entered to find Riego hiding in a corner and arrested him.
Authorities say an investigation has been ongoing since February after multiple reports of injured ponies at the New Castle County Carousel Park and Equestrian Center.
The ponies were found injured with their legs tied with cords just above their hoof, police say.
Investigators say one incident involved a 17-year-old black and white mare who had trouble walking from injuries to her rear legs. Police say they discovered a similar report from September 2019.
The September 2019 incident, police say, involved a 20-year-old mare who had a cord tied around one of her real legs. Investigators say surveillance video showed a white man, wearing a dark jacket, entering the barn after midnight on both nights. The man was determined to be involved in both incidents.
Another incident was reported to police on April 20 involving a 31-year-old brown mare.
According to police, surveillance video showed Riego taking the feed bucket from the barn and entering the pony’s stall. Riego was then observed tying her legs, removing articles of clothing, and sexually assaulting the pony, police say. At the time, police couldn’t identify Riego due to clothing covering his face.
Authorities say all the ponies were treated and have since resumed their normal routines.
Riego is facing felony bestiality and burglary charges. Authorities anticipate additional charges as the investigation remains active and ongoing.