Placer DA praises effort to corral 15-year fugitive

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - The Placer County District Attorney?s Office is crediting a cooperative effort among authorities with the arrest of fugitive Lawrence Dewald after nearly 16 years of eluding capture. Dewald, 46, of Mendocino County was arrested June 14 by deputies from the Placer County Sheriff's Office and investigators from the Placer County District Attorney?s Office. Dewald was originally convicted Sept. 2, 1996, of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell and being armed in the commission of that offense. Dewald was also found to have two prior strikes under California?s Three Strikes Law. During his trial Dewald, was out on $12,500 bail. But a statement from the District Attorney?s Office said that just prior to the conclusion of the trial Dewald failed to appear after lunch and fled the area. The court issued a warrant for his arrest and continued the trial, which resulted in a conviction. Despite the persistence of Placer County authorities, Dewald was able to elude capture for 15 years, the statement said. District Attorney Scott Owens commended the diligence of local law enforcement in bringing Dewald to justice. ?This arrest demonstrates that law enforcement will never give up in its pursuit to bring all those who break our laws to justice,? Owens said. Placer authorities received assistance from the FBI and the Mendocino County Sheriff?s Office in capturing Dewald. The success of this operation would not have been possible without the collaborative effort of the FBI and Mendocino County Sheriff?s Department, said Investigator Nuno Tavares of the Placer County District Attorney?s Office. Tavares and Placer County Sheriff?s detectives coordinated the search and ultimate arrest of Dewald. Dewald was also arrested on a federal arrest warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Dewald was booked in the Mendocino County Jail and was extradited to Placer County. He is currently being held without bail. His next court date is June 27 in Dept. 43 of the Placer County Superior Court.