Sweep of Grass Valley homeless camps net burglary arrests | TheUnion.com

Sweep of Grass Valley homeless camps net burglary arrests

Two men were arrested Monday in the wake of numerous reports of burglaries linked to homeless camps off Bennett Street.

The week prior, the Food Bank of Nevada County, Hills Flat Lumber, the 49er Family Fun Park and DeMartini RV Sales reported burglaries of their businesses, all within a few hundred feet of the Bennett Street encampment. Three separate reports referenced DeMartini RV Sales, most recently Nov. 20.

Randy Young, owner of Carpet One Floor and Home, said his business was burglarized Nov. 15. He has lost tools, computers and even security cameras.

A community-oriented policing project was opened, and two separate teams from the Nevada County Sheriff's Office and the Grass Valley Police Department, working in collaboration, went out to the wooded area off East Bennett Road, said Police Sgt. Joe Matteoni.

The teams located 10 occupied camps and 16 unoccupied camps.

"We recovered numerous items stolen from DeMartini's," Matteoni said. "The items were photographed and returned to the owner."

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According to Matteoni, the items found included propane tanks, RV batteries, hitches, pallets and hoses.

Two men were arrested in connection with the burglaries — John Luther Schrecongost, 39, and Roy Philip Warren, 55.

Both men were arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property and drug paraphernalia. Schrecongost was being held in lieu of $3,500 bail; Warren also was arrested on a felony warrant and violating probation and was being held without bail.

Schrecongost has been prosecuted 31 times in Nevada County since 1994, most recently for theft; charges were dismissed in that case, reportedly due to insufficient evidence. Last year, he faced charges in Yuba County relating to a string of thefts.

Warren's warrant was related to a 2010 arrest for assault with a deadly weapon and subsequent probation violations, according to court records. He failed to appear for a court date in September, and a bench warrant was issued.

In all, 20 people were contacted at the transient camps off Bennett and were notified they needed to leave or face arrest for trespassing, Matteoni said.

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

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