ATV theft takes strange turn, leads authorities from Newtown Road to Penn Valley Drive
The theft started with the suspect, not wanting to be found, sliding under a parked vehicle as its owner entered the garage searching for him, authorities said.
It ended a day later miles away with the arrest of Sean Russell Spittler, 32, of Linda, the ATV hidden nearby, Sheriff Keith Royal said.
The ATV theft happened around 2 p.m. Monday in the 13000 block of Newtown Road. A woman spotted the suspect, later identified as Spittler, try to open her front door before walking to a detached garage, Royal said.
She called her husband, who contacted the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office before returning to his home. He stepped inside his garage, ready to take an ATV in search of the suspect, the sheriff said.
Inside the garage himself, Spittler hid under another vehicle, he added.
“He crawls under the vehicle to conceal himself,” Royal said.
According to the sheriff, Spittler then escaped on a second ATV. At some point he sees patrol cars responding to the husband’s call and decides to hide.
“And he ends up going off the road and into the bushes,” Royal said.
When deputies later that day found Spittler, at this point wearing bandages from the wreck, they saw no ATV. Spittler told deputies his brother’s name, leading them to check their records and discover someone with a similar name recently left jail. They obtained a picture of that person and showed the woman on Newtown Road, though she couldn’t identify Spittler as the suspect and he was released, Royal said.
Hours later the husband, going through surveillance footage taken at his home, got a photo of the suspect and sent it to deputies. Authorities then identified Spittler as the suspect. They found him on Tuesday after a tip led them to Penn Valley Drive, where Spittler told deputies that the ATV was hidden nearby, the sheriff said.
Held Wednesday afternoon on $50,000 in bond, Spittler is charged with two counts each of second-degree burglary and vehicle theft and one count of false personation of another, jail records state.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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