Suspected vehicle thief quickly arrested in Grass Valley |

Suspected vehicle thief quickly arrested in Grass Valley

Nicholas McCauley

Just a few days after Grass Valley Police officers and Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies teamed up to uncover a large stash of stolen property in Cascade Shores (see story, page A7), they collaborated again in the arrest of a suspected vehicle thief Thursday.

A Grass Valley Police officer was dispatched to a report of a stolen 4Runner just before 10:30 p.m. in the 100 block of East Main Street.

During that call for service, a sheriff’s deputy saw the missing vehicle, said Sgt. Jason Perry.

“Thanks to some quick legwork, it was determined, through a registration check, that it was the stolen vehicle,” Perry said.

A traffic stop was conducted on South Auburn Street at the intersection of Park Avenue and the driver, Nicholas Ronald McCauley, 35, was detained.

While processing the vehicle, officers found a loaded .38 caliber handgun under the front seat, Perry said.

They also reportedly found extra ammunition, several containers containing suspected methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, prescription medication, approximately 22 grams of marijuana, and burglary tools including a window punch, door shims and shaved vehicle keys for stealing vehicles.

McCauley reportedly tried to ditch a small bag of narcotics in the back seat of the patrol vehicle as he was being transported to jail, Perry said.

McCauley, of Penn Valley, was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, possession of burglary tools, being a felon with a firearm, possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, possessing a controlled substance while armed, and violating probation. He was booked into county jail in lieu of $56,000 bail and is set to be arraigned in Nevada County Superior Court on Monday.

McCauley had previously been arrested, in Truckee in May 2016, after a trailer fire led to the discovery of a suspected butane honey oil lab, along with an assault rifle, a sawed-off shotgun and other weapons.

Firefighters had responded to the trailer fire in the 10000 block of Hirschdale Road and reportedly discovered what appeared to be several items related to a butane honey oil lab after extinguishing the blaze, which was possibly caused by a small space heater.

Nevada County Sheriff’s detectives searched the trailer after getting a search warrant, finding unused butane canisters, suspected marijuana and two magazines for an AR-15. An AR-15, a loaded .45-caliber pistol and a loaded .20-gauge shotgun were found in a vehicle at the scene, as was a sawed-off shotgun.

McCauley was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, trafficking large-capacity firearm magazines, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of a short-barrelled shotgun, and possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He subsequently pleaded no contest to the drug manufacturing and magazine trafficking charges, according to court records.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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