Alleged burglars caught at Kmart
An attempted department store burglary turned into an embarrassing arrest for three Nevada County men late Saturday night, when they were cornered outside a cafeteria restroom.
As employees of Kmart, on McKnight Way, were beginning to close down the store for the night at 10 p.m., Quentin Dean Ludwig, 20, of Grass Valley; Joseph Earl Hale, 20, of Nevada City, and a 17-year-old Grass Valley boy allegedly walked into the store
The three crossed a rope into the store cafeteria and walked into a restroom, Grass Valley Police Sgt. Michael Hooker said. When the store closed, they were still inside. However, the store security officer knew this and had been paying careful attention to the men because the store was burglarized two times in August.
“Last night, they were monitoring their tapes,” Hooker said.
The security officer called Grass Valley police, and officers surrounded the building’s exits with their vehicles and trash bins.
In a ruse, police had the store manager announce over the public address system that all employees were to report to a “meeting” in five minutes, and the store cleared out.
“The officers surrounded the cafeteria, and lo and behold … two guys crawl out,” Hooker said. “They took two down at the front of the store. A third subject exited the cafeteria restroom and gave up.”
Ludwig was booked into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on three counts of burglary, two counts of possession of a narcotic controlled substance, three counts of criminal conspiracy, and for committing a felony while out on bail or his own recognizance.
Hooker said Grass Valley investigators believe Ludwig may be connected to both of the August burglaries -when several men snuck into the store and hid until it closed.
In the previous two burglaries, medicine was stolen from the store’s pharmacy. The alarm went off as the robbers exited the building with their booty.
Hale was arrested on suspicion of criminal conspiracy and burglary.
The 17-year-old boy was booked at juvenile hall.
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