A local man will face multiple charges in connection with three burglaries, after a preliminary hearing into the evidence against him Tuesday.
Kellen Robert Lovell, 29, was in Nevada County Superior Court on two separate cases with the first dating back to a reported burglary in June.
In that incident, Nevada County Sheriff’s Deputy John Dzioba testified he took a report for a stolen semi-automatic Ruger June 3.
The homeowner told him he suspected the firearm had been stolen the previous October, when he was on vacation, Dzioba said.
The stolen gun turned up during the investigation of a reported interruption of a burglary Nov. 4.
Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Moe testified that he responded to a residence in Nevada City, where Lovell allegedly was seen fleeing from the residence.
The victim, identified as Scott Nelson, said Lovell had been living there off and on for several months. Nelson said he fired eight rounds from a pellet pistol at Lovell because Lovell had stolen from him in the past.
In response, Lovell reportedly aimed a gun at Nelson and racked the slide, then lowered it and fled.
Cabinets had been pried open, and several items were reported to be missing, Moe testified.
Lovell was eventually located in one of his vehicles, a sedan, and interviewed. He reportedly said fled because Nelson fired at him and denied having a firearm at the time. He attributed Nelson’s actions to jealousy over a woman.
The next day, Grass Valley Police officers reportedly located Lovell’s second vehicle, a red truck. Moe testified that he could see a pistol in an unzipped backpack that was in the bed of the pickup; that pistol was traced back to the June burglary.
There also was an ice chest with Nelson’s name on it and a scuba bag that contained a bunch of batteries that had been reported stolen by Nelson.
Lovell’s attorney, Larry Montgomery, argued that there was no evidence that Lovell was connected with the theft of the gun, telling Judge Candace Heidelberger that it was found after he was already in custody.
“They haven’t connected the dots,” Montgomery said.
Heidelberger agreed that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to hold Lovell to answer on a charge of grand theft of a firearm. She did, however, hold him on charges of possession of stolen property, exhibiting a firearm and petty theft.
Truck, credit cards allegedly stolen
Lovell then faced a second evidentiary hearing on vehicle theft, burglary and drug charges in connection with an Aug. 30 incident.
California Highway Patrol Officer Nathan Taylor testified that he took a report for a stolen Toyota Tacoma pickup truck Aug. 30. The victim told Taylor the truck had been parked on Bowman Lake Road while he was camping.
According to Taylor, the victim also reported that his credit cards had been stolen and “had just been used.”
Grass Valley Police Officer Dale Norvell testified that he took a report of a credit card fraud at Radio Shack on Sutton Way.
An employee told him two men had been in the store, and one bought a cell phone and a speaker.
The employee was able to provide a receipt, Norvell said.
Norvell said fellow officer Brian Blakemore “placed a ruse call” to the cell phone that had just been purchased, telling the buyer he needed to return to the store to receive a $40 phone card.
They returned to the store when the two suspects arrived and found Lovell and a second man, identified as Kyle Short, in the parking lot, standing next to a red truck, Norvell testified.
Lovell reportedly told Norvell he had picked Kyle up at his house and had been with him all day.
Blakemore testified that Short offered a different account, telling him that Lovell had called him that afternoon, saying he needed a ride and that he was up Highway 20 past 5Mile House.
Lovell reportedly asked Short to drive his pickup and that it took Short an hour to locate Lovell. Short said he found Lovell with the Tacoma in the woods, which he said belonged to his brother and had a flat tire.
According to Short, both men removed property from the Tacoma and transferred it to Lovell’s truck. He told Blakemore that he had tried to use the credit card, which he thought belonged to Lovell’s brother, but that it was declined, and he paid cash for the cell phone.
Blakemore testified that a search of Lovell’s truck revealed a duffel bag in the bed that contained multiple IDs and a checkbook belonging to the victim; another duffel bag reportedly contained a GPS unit belonging to the victim.
A backpack claimed by Short reportedly contained drug paraphernalia and brass knuckles.
A search of the cab reportedly uncovered suspected LSD concealed in the steering wheel and anti-anxiety medication. A lockbox with drug paraphernalia also was found, along with several meth pipes and a bong, Blakemore said.
Montgomery again argued there was little direct evidence connecting Lovell to the vehicle theft, saying one reasonable inference was that Short stole the truck and then asked Lovell for help because he was stranded.
In this case, however, Heidelberger did find enough evidence to hold Lovell to answer on charges of vehicle theft, second-degree commercial burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. She noted no evidence was presented on a charge of driving an unregistered vehicle.
Lovell’s bail was reduced to $50,000 on the first case and remained set at $25,000 in the second case; he was set for formal arraignment Dec. 2.
In the truck theft case, Short previously pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree burglary and is currently in a residential treatment program.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.