Stay-at-home order could mean more jail time in Truckee arson case
TRUCKEE — A man accused of starting a fire by the side of a Truckee road faces a higher sentence if convicted because of the governor’s shelter-in-place order, authorities said.
Heik Van Luftundraum, 46, of California, faces a charge of felony arson during a state of emergency. Arrested Sunday, he remained Tuesday in the Nevada County Jail under $75,000 in bond, authorities said.
A driver around 9:40 p.m. Sunday spotted Van Luftundraum in the 10000 block of Brockway Road, Truckee Police Sgt. Russ Walsh said.
“He was starting a fire on the side of the road with some papers,” the sergeant added.
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The driver called police, who responded and saw Van Luftundraum trying to stamp out the fire, Walsh said.
“There was no camp ring,” he added. “There was no defensible space around the area.”
Officers arrested Van Luftundraum without incident, Walsh said.
A conviction on an arson charge calls for different sentencing ranges, depending on what is burned.
However, if convicted Van Luftundraum faces a higher sentence range — five, seven or nine years — because it happened during Gov. Gavin Newsom’s emergency order, Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said.
Additionally, the charge means Van Luftundraum isn’t eligible for zero bond, the prosecutor said.
“This is the second time we’ve filed those type of enhancements, and it’s rare when we get to do that,” Chris Walsh said.
The enhancement was filed in a Grass Valley burglary last week.
Ryan Charles Schlager, 32, and Brandon James Henslee, 34, face charges of second-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime and committing a burglary during a state of emergency, Grass Valley police have said.
Authorities last week accused the men of breaking into a Yuba River Court business. Officers arrested Schlager at the scene and Henslee several hours later, reports state.
Schlager has since made his $200,000 bond. Henslee remained jailed Tuesday, reports state.
To contact City Editor Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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