‘Major player’ in Wildwood thefts nabbed after 2 pursuits
A series of pursuits between Penn Valley and Auburn on Sunday yielded the arrest of a “major player” in the recent rash of thefts and burglaries in Lake Wildwood, authorities said Monday.
No one was injured in the pursuits, although a Nevada County Sheriff’s investigator was hit by a car.
Eventually, 50-year-old Lakeport resident Roy D. Gault was arrested by Placer County authorities without incident.
Investigators say Gault played a key role in a variety of recent crimes at Lake Wildwood. At least four vehicles, with the keys inside, were stolen from the gated community, and there were several reports of mail theft and break-ins.
“We believe Mr. Gault is a major player in the mail thefts, home burglaries and vehicle thefts in lake Wildwood,” Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said.
Gault’s capture unfolded Sunday at about 1:15 p.m. Nevada County investigators had determined that Gault was involved in the Lake Wildwood thefts and attempted to arrest him at the Penn Valley Chevron Station, on Pleasant Valley Road, on a no-bail warrant for not appearing in court on previous charges of drug possession.
Officers surrounded Gault’s car with their vehicles, but he sped up and rammed two officers’ vehicles and knocked an officer over.
Gault then reportedly sped away at 50 mph, running a red light at a major intersection. An investigator who had positioned himself on southbound Highway 49 just in case of an escape attempt saw Gault drive by him and called for reinforcement. A California Highway Patrol helicopter and Placer County deputies joined in the pursuit.
The suspect reportedly led Placer County authorities on a pursuit through several streets before turning around and heading back up Highway 49 toward Grass Valley.
“He pulled over, noticing the helicopter overhead,” Royal said.
Gault was arrested for the warrant, and new charges of assault with a deadly weapon – stemming from hitting the officer with his car – possession of a deadly weapon, a throwing star; and possession of a hypodermic syringe.
Royal said that Gault has been arrested previously for rape, assault, battery, assault with a deadly weapon, vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, grand theft, fraud, burglary, forgery and more.
“He’s got a 32-page rap sheet that dates back to 1972,” Royal said. “The listings go on and on.”
Gault was booked at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility.
Royal said the investigation into the Lake Wildwood thefts is ongoing to determine the roles of Gault and others. Royal said Gault lived with friends recently, including friends in the private community.
“We hope as the investigation proceeds, we will make more arrests,” he said.
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