Nevada Union High School locker vandals take plea agreement |

Nevada Union High School locker vandals take plea agreement

Brad Pinneo
Nevada County Sheriff Department |

The three men charged in a vandalism spree that caused $20,000 in damage to lockers at Nevada Union High School took plea agreements in return for stipulated jail sentences Thursday in Nevada County Superior Court.

The suspects’ vandalism in May left lockers and hallways throughout the school in disarray, with the total damage estimated at $20,000; every outside locker in J-Wing, C-Wing and D-Wing had been forced open and the contents of the lockers were strewn on the ground.

The thieves helped themselves to electronic items and clothing, including athletic shoes, iPods and graphing calculators.

A review of the video surveillance footage revealed the three men methodically checking stuff from the lockers and tossing items they didn’t want. After the sheriff’s office released stills from the surveillance videos to local media outlets, it didn’t take long for tips to come flooding in.

One of the men was identified as Gayl Lawrence Lee, 30; Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies arresting Lee reportedly found a BMX bike that was in the footage of the vandalism, as well as a number of stolen items.

The two remaining suspects were identified as Brad Lee Pinneo, 35, and Jessy Watkins, 27.

All three men were charged with second-degree burglary, vandalism, grand theft and possessing stolen property.

Watkins had a string of cases dating back to 2005, mostly misdemeanors involving drug charges. He pleaded no contest Thursday to one count of second-degree burglary in return for 270 days in county jail and four years probation.

Lee’s last criminal case was in August 2013 for driving on a suspended license.

Pinneo had been arrested in early December after the victim of a vehicle break-in spotted him leaving a store where he reportedly had disposed of about 30 stolen Frisbee golf discs in bags worth an estimated $500. In February, Pinneo pleaded no contest to second-degree burglary with a stipulated split sentence of two years.

He was to serve 10 months in county jail and then serve 14 months on formal court probation.

With credit for time served and good behavior, he was released from custody in late April but apparently did not report to probation, according to court records.

Pinneo and Lee also pleaded no contest to the burglary charge Thursday, in return for a three-year sentence.

Any decision as to the terms of their split sentence and mandatory supervision would be up to the sentencing judge; sentencing was set for Sept. 15.

Restitution for the damage to the lockers and for the stolen items has been reserved for a hearing at a future date.

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

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