No charges to be filed against ski area theft suspect
Criminal charges will not be filed against a Truckee teen who had been considered suspect in a theft and suspected of possession of illegal drugs for sale, according to authorities.
Brian Hooser, 19, of Truckee was arrested on Feb. 21 on charges of alleged burglary and conspiracy of burglary, as well as alleged possession of opium and marijuana for sale.
But a lack of evidence has prevented the district attorney from filing charges in the burglary, and the substance believed to be opium found at Hooser’s residence tested negative for illegal drugs.
“The district attorney has declined to file charges at this time,” said Fred Holmes, deputy district attorney for Nevada County Superior Court in Truckee.
At the time of Hooser’s arrest, police believed he was involved in a burglary at the Soda Springs Ski Area last month. Hooser is a former employee of Boreal Ski Area, which also owns Soda Springs Ski Area.
However, the district attorney will not be filing charges at this time in the theft, Holmes said.
“The charges of theft the D.A. has not pursued at this time,” he said.
Taken in the theft, believed to have happened during an employee party on Feb. 20, was as much as $15,000 worth of equipment, according to Ron Smith of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case because it occurred outside town limits.
Smith said that eyewitnesses had allegedly placed Hooser at the scene of the burglary.
“Mr. Hooser was seen inside the rental shop which was locked at the time,” he said.
According to the NCSO report, Boreal Human Resources Director Paula Wickstrom allegedly saw Hooser, along with several other suspects, standing outside the rental shop shortly before the burglary was discovered.
The police report also claims that at the employee party Hooser had gotten into a physical altercation with Jonathan Scott, the general manager of Soda Springs Ski Resort, shortly before the burglary occurred.
Several other suspects are mentioned by name in the police report, but were not charged in the case. One suspect is reportedly being actively sought by police for questioning.
In the report, Hooser is quoted as saying he knew nothing about the theft until the day after it happened.
Holmes said that a lack of reliable information has made it impossible to file charges in the theft.
“Due to insufficient evidence, it was not possible to determine which of the many potential defendants were responsible,” he said.
At least one friend of the Hooser family told the Sierra Sun she felt Hooser had possibly been singled out due to his prior juvenile record.
Hooser was on probation, and one of the terms of his probation was that law enforcement had the right to enter and search his residence at any time. NCSO and Truckee Police Department officers searched Hooser’s residence later that week.
Found at that residence on West River Street were several packages of what was believed to be opium “prepared for sale,” according to authorities. No property reported as missing in the Soda Springs Ski Area theft was found at the residence.
The substance that was identified as opium ultimately tested negative for controlled substances, police said.
Truckee Police Sgt. Dan Johnston said that despite some evidence Hooser was allegedly involved in drug sales, no charges will be made.
“Despite the fact that we heard (during the raid on Hooser’s residence) at least one person calling and ordering a gram of opium (over the answering machine), the stuff that was packaged to be sold was nothing,” he said.
Hooser does still face possible probation violation charges due to a quantity of marijuana also found at the residence, according to authorities.
Another possible charge, that of possession of an illegal assault rifle allegedly found at Hooser’s residence, remains undetermined.
“We have to hold off any further action on that until such time as we get further information (on the rifle),” Holmes said.
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