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May 17, 2014
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Trio arrested for Nevada Union High School vandalism

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office has arrested three men in connection with a vandalism spree that caused $20,000 in damage to lockers at Nevada Union High School.

Nevada Union High School was vandalized Sunday morning, leaving lockers and hallways throughout the school in disarray.

The vandalism was reported at around 10 a.m. Sunday, and deputies arrived to find that every outside locker in J-Wing, C-Wing and D-Wing had been forced open and the contents of the lockers were strewn on the ground.

Lockers in the school’s quad area experienced the worst damage, with the total damage estimated at $20,000.

The thieves helped themselves to electronic items and clothing, including athletic shoes, iPods and graphing calculators.

A review of the video surveillance footage depicted three men committing the vandalism and theft.

The men could be seen in the surveillance video methodically checking stuff from the lockers and tossing items they didn’t want.

After the sheriff’s office released stills from the surveillance videos to local media outlets Thursday, it didn’t take long for tips to come flooding in.

One of the men was identified as Gayl Lawrence Lee, 30, who possibly was living in the 1000 block of East Main Street in Grass Valley.

Detectives from the Major Crimes Unit began conducting surveillance on the residence and soon identified a man who entered and then left the address as Lee, Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Tripp said in a press release. They also saw a BMX bike that was in the footage of the vandalism, Tripp said.

Detectives interviewed Lee and searched his residence, reportedly locating a number of stolen items.

They subsequently identified the two remaining suspects as Brad Lee Pinneo, 35, and Jessy Watkins, 27.

All three men were charged with second-degree burglary, criminal conspiracy, possessing stolen property and vandalism. Pinneo and Watkins also had outstanding warrants.

Lee was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail. Pinneo was being held without bail, and Watkins’ bail was set at $25,000.

Pinneo is set to enter a plea in Nevada County Superior Court on May 22, while Watkins and Lee next will be in court May 19.

Watkins has a string of cases dating back to 2005, mostly misdemeanors involving drug charges. Lee’s last criminal case was in August 2013 for driving on a suspended license.

Pinneo had been arrested in early December after the victim of a vehicle break-in spotted him leaving a store where he reportedly had disposed of many of the stolen items.

Pinneo and another man had made off with about 30 Frisbee golf discs in bags worth an estimated $500 and reportedly were paid less than $50. After being confronted by the victim, Pinneo fled, but was spotted just a few hours later by the victim and subsequently arrested.

In February, Pinneo pleaded no contest to second-degree burglary with a stipulated split sentence of two years.

He was to serve 10 months in county jail and then serve 14 months on formal court probation.

With credit for time served and good behavior, he was released from custody in late April but apparently did not report to probation, according to court records.

A bench warrant had been issued May 6.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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The Union Updated May 17, 2014 03:13PM Published May 22, 2014 04:33PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.