Tuesday Sep 02 2008
Rooftop burglar suspect eludes capture
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Auburn business owner estimates $15,000 of damage due to break-in attempt
Police are searching for suspects involved in a series of rooftop burglaries whose targets have included Auburn businesses. Burglars attempted to break into Deuces Wild Casino in Auburn and cut camera wires surrounding that building and those of its neighbor Maria’s Mexican Tacos restaurant on Bowman Road in Auburn in the early morning hours of Aug. 23. According to the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, two suspects were taken into custody in Oroville Aug. 29. Law enforcement is still searching for the third suspect, 36-year-old Adam McGregor from Oroville. McGregor avoided arrest on Aug. 29 when he jumped from the roof of the 30-foot movie theater in Oroville, according to Sheriff’s Detective Jim Hudson. Hudson said Tuesday that McGregor fell and broke a tree limb during his fall and then fell on a chain link barbwire fence until he hit the ground. He then ran across a four-lane highway into a wooded area. Hudson said footage released to them by Deuces Wild Casino owner Robert Brown helped identify two of the suspects, McGregor and 40-year-old Oroville resident David Yell. Hudson said they are trying to identify the third suspect using the video. The video reportedly shows the suspects arrived on the scene in a red Dodge Dakota truck extended cab. It tapped the three burglars as they walked around the business until the power was cut. Hudson said the burglars were trying to break into the back door but fled when a cleaning crew arrived. Brown estimated it will cost at least $15,000 to repair the damaged phone, cable, camera and air-conditioning lines. He said that he does not feel the need to add extra security because the system in place is “elaborate.” He explained that the doors are reinforced with metal door jams and video from the cameras is saved to a disc and streams online as a back up. He added that his cameras catch activity within 40-feet of his building. At Foothills Bowling Center, general manager James Skorija said he has about three to four cameras mounted on the outside of his building, which faces the back of The Deuces Wild. He said there is no evidence of the burglars attempting to break into the bowling alley. He said the cameras outside of the bowling alley caught images of some of the men and their vehicle parked outside the building. Skorija said he didn’t recognize any of the burglars, but one of his employees is working with law enforcement in identifying one of the suspects. “We don’t think they’re local,” Skorija said. “We know our people. These people didn’t look like anyone we’ve seen before.” Maria’s Mexican Tacos is located in the building attached to the casino. Owner Maria Moreno said she did not see any signs of someone trying to break into her restaurant. However, the camera outside of her back door and other wires were cut as well as electric lines and cable lines. She estimated that it will cost “a few hundred dollars” to repair the camera wires. She said the burglary attempt was the first she’s experienced in her seven years at the Bowman Road location. News of the burglary has also left her feeling unsafe, she said. “You never know what can happen,” Moreno said. Skorija said he does not plan to add extra security to the bowling alley building. He said when a nearby restaurant goes under construction, extra patrols will increase in the area to guard the construction site. Skorija agreed with Moreno that the crime was unusual for the area. The last time the bowling alley experienced a theft was two years ago when a man was caught on tape stealing from a vending machine during business hours. Brown also said the burglary attempt was also the first his business has experienced. Hudson said that at least two of the suspects have been conducting the same type of burglaries in several surrounding counties including Nevada, Yuba and Placer. As a result of their span, several surrounding law enforcement agencies are involved including those from Yuba, Placer, Butte, Nevada, Washoe and Lyon county sheriff’s and Oroville, Truckee and Sparks, Nev., police departments. He said while the burglaries themselves are not unusual, the persistence of the suspects is rare. “Even though they’re caught in certain jurisdiction, they make bail and continue to start over,” Hudson said. “Usually when a suspect is caught, they stop performing the act. They went right back to it.” Anyone with information regarding the suspects is asked to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Department at (530) 889-7800 or the anonymous county Crime Stoppers line at (800) 923-8191. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment.