Three arrested; linked to some area thefts
Three men arrested Friday morning in a vehicle full of illegal and stolen items may be linked to a series of burglaries throughout the Reno-Tahoe area, according to the Truckee Police Department.
The men were arrested after being spotted speeding at approximately 80 mph in a blue Toyota at about 3:30 a.m. near Glenshire, authorities said.
The TPD had been making increased patrols of Glenshire and Sierra Meadows following 18 auto burglaries reported to have occurred at various homes there on the night of Monday, Feb. 18. TPD Officer Dirk Stoddard was in an unmarked vehicle at the time he made the arrests.
Arrested on multiple charges, including alleged possession of drugs, weapons and stolen property, were driver Paul Michael Lampron, 22, of the Reno/Sparks area; Philip Harmer, 27, of Simi Valley and Jason Wayne Bahnsen, 21, of Carson City.
Lampron had originally identified himself as “Nathan Vicari” to police using false identification; however, upon fingerprinting his true identity was discovered. Lampron had outstanding felony warrants for his arrest for battery causing serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon, burglary and weapons possession in Washoe County.
As of Tuesday, nothing firm had been found to tie the three men to last week’s auto burglaries in Truckee, but links to other recent burglaries have been made.
“At this point, there’s nothing to link with the (burglaries on Feb. 18),” said TPD Sgt. Dan Johnston. “However, it’s apparent they were in our town for no good.”
“I won’t speculate that they were going to commit auto burglaries in our town, but they certainly have in the past committed auto burglaries and theft,” Johnston added.
“One individual was found to be in possession of lockpicks,” he said. “A search (of the vehicle) was made and a loaded .32 caliber handgun was found under the driver’s seat.”
Also found in the vehicle were a sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun with a 9″ barrel, possession of which is illegal in California, and a small quantity of methamphetamine. In addition, tools that can be used in auto burglary, several counterfeit checkbooks, cellular phones, a metal-detecting security wand, several CD wallets, a knife and other drug paraphernalia were found in the vehicle.
Evidence was found to link the suspects with the theft of more than $10,000 worth of equipment from a U.S. Forest Service fire station at Stampede Reservoir reported on Jan. 22.
“A wide variety of things were missing,” said Joanne Roubique, USFS district ranger. “Tools, general equipment, a lot of fire gear and clothing. The clothing and gear is fire-retardant and very expensive.”
“We’re very pleased to hear of the arrests,” she added.
“We have identified two of the pieces of property recovered as being stolen in the Stampede burglary,” Johnston said.
Roubique said the USFS has stepped up patrols of its stations since the January theft.
“We have increased patrols and surveillance out there and at our other stations as well,” Roubique said.
The suspects also had ample material that can be used in the crime of identity theft.
“One of the suspects had at least 10 people’s full social security numbers in his possession,” Johnston said. “Everything one would need to obtain a person’s identity.”
However, the three are not believed to be involved in the rash of credit card thefts in the area, where stolen credit cards are used for quick cash advances at Reno casinos.
Lampron was described as having “ties to Truckee.” After his arrest, he was treated at Tahoe Forest Hospital for a injuries related to a gunshot wound to his hand believed to have occurred in Southern California recently.
“He was shot in the hand for an unknown reason,” Johnston said.
The investigation of the stolen property continues, Johnston said.
“We’re trying to run down every single lead that we have,” he said.
All three suspects are being held at the Nevada County Jail in Nevada City.
Anyone with information on recent burglaries in Truckee can call the TPD at (530) 550-2320.
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The blaze grew to more than 50,000 acres as of Thursday morning but the Nevada Wildfire Information Map shows that figure could easily be at 60,000 acres.