Grass Valley police arrested two high school students Wednesday on suspicion of stealing an $800 police helmet.
The headgear was taken Tuesday from a traffic officer's motorcycle while he was attending an educational trial at Nevada Union High School.
"Some miscreant took our motorcycle officer's helmet," Grass Valley Capt. Dave Remillard said Wednesday before the helmet was found. "I would classify this as highly disappointing. ... (Traffic Officer Brian Hooper) works very hard, and he puts in a lot of extra hours doing presentations. He was there doing his job."
The officer was at the school for the trial of a woman charged with driving under the influence. Students found her not guilty but did find her guilty of having more than the allowable limit of alcohol in her blood.
Later in the day, police were tipped off by a high school student who reported seeing the helmet on the back seat of an old Buick parked across from the school.
"The suspects were found in class," Remillard said. "Officers brought them to the vehicle and they admitted to stealing the helmet."
William Curtis, 18, and Parker Brown, 18, were arrested. Curtis was booked into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property. Brown was cited on suspicion of conspiring to commit a crime and released from police custody.
The teens expressed remorse and said they stole the helmet on an impulse, Remillard said.
The helmet had been damaged, with scratches and dings, and police will have to send it to the manufacturer to be repaired. It contained expensive communications equipment Officer Hooper cannot go without, and police had already ordered a new helmet before the old one was found, Remillard said.
Hooper won't be able to go on patrol on his Harley Davidson until the department receives the new helmet, Remillard said.
It is impractical for a motorcycle officer to carry a helmet while in the field, Remillard said.
"It's a customary practice among motor officers nationwide to leave their helmets (with their motorcycles)," he said. "Officer Hooper had a higher opinion of people and believed this couldn't happen. I guess these days, things like this do happen."
Now, he said, Hooper will have to take extra care by carrying his helmet at all times or locking it to his motorcycle.
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4236.