Vintage Bronco stolen in Grass Valley, recovered in Washington
Grass Valley police are searching for a man suspected of stealing a vintage 1970 Ford Bronco and then stashing it in a creek bed above Washington.
The Bronco was purchased by Randy Nascimento in 1977 when he was 17, using money he earned on his paper route.
“It’s his baby,” said wife Brenda Nascimento.
Nascimento was working late at his metal fabrication shop on Springhill Drive around 7 p.m. Dec. 7 when he heard the Bronco start up. He ran outside to see a man driving it toward the back of the parking lot, Brenda Nascimento said.
“He ran around the front and jumped down the embankment, and was able to grab onto the door handle,” she said.
The door was locked, but Randy Nascimento held on for a while as the thief dragged him down the road.
“He has some cracked ribs and road rash,” Brenda Nascimento said.
The Nascimentos called 911 and a “be on the lookout” alert was issued by the Grass Valley Police Department. But there were no leads until the couple began posting photos of the stolen Bronco on social media.
“Someone saw my (Facebook) post and got ahold of me,” Brenda Nascimento said. “I was at Staples getting reward flyers made.”
While she was en route to Washington, where the Bronco was seen, the suspect fled after being confronted by a local resident. However, a woman identified as the suspect’s girlfriend stayed in Washington, Brenda Nascimento said.
According to Grass Valley Police Sgt. Clint Bates, the woman was “pressed for information” and led the victims to her boyfriend.
Hours later, Bates said, Brenda Nascimento identified the suspect as Dylan Hart Walker, 24, by a mugshot printed with an article covering Walker’s arrest on theft charges in September 2015 in The Union.
When the suspect returned, Brenda Nascimento said, he told her they would never locate the Bronco without his cooperation.
“I said, ‘I won’t turn you in if you take me to the car,’” she said. “He drove down a dirt road, a mile and a half down. It was parked in a seasonal creek, into some bushes. No one would have ever found it.”
Brenda Nascimento and a Washington resident drove with the suspect and his girlfriend to retrieve the Bronco.
According to Brenda Nascimento, the man, whom she only knew as “Dylan,” said he had first driven the Bronco to a friend’s house and rummaged through it before taking it to Washington on Sunday. He apparently damaged the suspension while hiding the Bronco.
But, she added, the couple was so relieved to have it back, they kept their word on the “deal” — until Monday afternoon. Brenda Nascimento claims the suspect took around $1,000 in tools, the vehicle registration and keys to her house and shop.
“That’s when all deals were off,” Brenda Nascimento said, adding her husband slept in the shop until he could get new keys made.
Bates said enough evidence exists to support Walker’s arrest.
“We are seeking a warrant,” he added.
Anyone with information as to Walker’s whereabouts can call the regional dispatch center at 530-265-7880, Bates said.
Grass Valley police officers went to Washington Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to locate Walker, but were unsuccessful.
Walker currently has several outstanding warrants, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office website.
In June 2014, Walker was arrested and charged with vehicle theft, reckless evasion of a peace officer and driving without a license. He subsequently pleaded no contest to the vehicle theft and evasion and was sentenced to 120 days in jail, according to court records.
In September 2015, Walker escaped from a patrol vehicle while handcuffed after an arrest on theft charges. In that case, he eventually pleaded no contest to possessing stolen property, being a felon in possession of ammunition, resisting arrest, and vehicle theft. He was sentenced to one year in jail and three years formal probation, court records state.
Walker faced new felony charges in October 2016 after reportedly being found with drugs, weapons, and burglary tools, Walker, a passenger in a car pulled over by a California Highway Patrol officer, reportedly had metal knuckles with a knife blade attached, a handgun with the serial number filed off, ammunition, and a large number of shaved keys. He pleaded no contest to being a felon in possession of a firearm, and admitted two separate violations of probation, in return for a prison sentence of two years and eight months, reports state.
Starting in April 2018, Walker racked up several violations of post-release community supervision. In May, he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of possessing drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest, and then again in August for driving without a license.
He failed to appear for court dates on both cases, as recently as Nov. 22, court records show.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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