Suspect in Grass Valley vehicle break-ins pleads not guilty |

Suspect in Grass Valley vehicle break-ins pleads not guilty

Keith Rushing

The suspect arrested in Grass Valley in late February in connection with breaking into multiple vehicles pleaded not guilty to 21 counts, most of which were for petty theft and damage to a vehicle.

Keith Alexander Rushing was arrested after Grass Valley police officers set up surveillance locations and reportedly spotted Rushing walking in the 500 block of Butler Street at about 3 a.m., carrying several bags and items.

Rushing reportedly jumped a row of hedges into a yard and tried to hide but was detained and arrested on suspicion of petty theft and violating probation. He reportedly was found in possession of several different victims' property and subsequently was connected to more than 20 vehicle break-ins on Brighton and Butler streets and on Packard Drive, as well as on Candy and Primrose lanes.

Rushing allegedly was found with approximately $75 in change, most of which consisted of silver dollars that have been identified by the victim of the theft, as well as checks, checkbooks, debit cards and credit cards, sunglasses, a cellphone and an iPod.

He has been arrested multiple times by Grass Valley police officers for breaking into vehicles, most recently in December; court records show seven misdemeanor and four felony cases since September 2012.

Rushing appeared in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of petty theft with three or more priors, one count of vandalism, one count of possessing stolen property, one count of prowling and eight counts of damage to a vehicle.

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His deputy public defender, Tamara Zuromskis, indicated he was looking at drug treatment options; he is set to return to court April 10.

In other court news:

A preliminary hearing into the evidence has been set for two defendants in a home invasion robbery.

Devin Matthew Thomas, 18, had turned himself in on charges of criminal conspiracy, second-degree robbery and first-degree residential burglary in the Dec. 6 attack.

A 17-year-old boy reported to have been the primary aggressor was arrested less than a week after the attack.

A third suspect, 17-year-old Tyler Leal, was arrested Feb. 13 and originally booked as a juvenile on suspicion of robbery, criminal conspiracy and possession of stolen property. A felony complaint charging Leal as an adult was filed Feb. 28, and he was arraigned on charges of second-degree robbery, first-degree residential burglary, criminal conspiracy and possession of stolen property.

The 73-year-old victim was beaten and tied up Dec. 6 by three young men who knocked on his door and asked him if they could make an out-of-town phone call. He was struck in the face and head by an unidentified weapon and left bound and bleeding on the floor while the trio ransacked and stole several items from the residence before fleeing in his truck.

Leal and Thomas appeared in court Thursday and the preliminary hearing was set for April 10, said Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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