Day-long hearing into evidence against Grass Valley man set for Dec. 3
A preliminary hearing into the evidence against a Grass Valley man charged with a slew of offenses allegedly racked up during a four-month-long crime spree has been set for early December, and it was estimated the hearing would last all day.
The Grass Valley/Nevada City Joint Investigation Team, in cooperation with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit, arrested Michael Heller, 24, in August on suspicion of two vehicle pursuits, two vehicle thefts, operating a chop shop, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, criminal conspiracy, and possession/distribution of stolen property.
Heller initially was arrested in April after reportedly being on the run from law enforcement for several months, after violating post-release community supervision.
A criminal complaint and arrest warrant had been filed against Heller in March for driving on a suspended license and reckless evasion of a peace officer, in connection with a Jan. 30 incident involving the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.
Heller reportedly was driving a GMC Yukon and recklessly fled from the deputy; he then ditched the car and fled on foot.
Heller also was linked to a Dodge Avenger that was stolen from a Nevada City motel during an armed robbery in March by two men, one of whom reportedly had a Taser and one of whom had a 12-gauge shotgun. The two robbers reportedly ransacked the room, stealing a cellphone, a computer notebook, and the keys to the rental car.
Two days later, a man driving the stolen vehicle successfully eluded a pursuit that included a CHP helicopter and a K-9 team brought in from Yuba County. The suspect fled into the bushes and could not be located; a loaded shotgun was found in the Dodge Avenger.
In early April, Heller was identified as a suspect in another vehicle theft when a GMC Yukon was stolen from the Pleasant Street area in Grass Valley.
At the time of Heller’s arrest, multiple cellphones were recovered that reportedly contained pictures and evidence showing that he had been driving, concealing, dismantling, and parting out the stolen GMC Yukon.
Detectives were able to determine the location of the stolen Yukon and subsequently served a search warrant at an address off Meyers Lane, locating the remnants of the Yukon that had been cut up and dismantled. Heller reportedly had been coordinating the selling of stolen vehicle parts.
In Nevada County Superior Court Thursday, Heller pleaded not guilty to first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, carjacking with personal use of a deadly weapon, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, vehicle theft, reckless evasion of a peace officer, possession of stolen property and running a chop shop operation.
The preliminary hearing into the evidence against him was set for Dec. 3.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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