YREKA — The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office has named two suspects in the theft of $1.26 million worth of historic gold, one of the largest burglary cases in county history.
Investigators have named David Dean Johnson, 49, of El Cerrito, Calif., and Scott Wayne Bailey, 51, of El Sobrante, Calif., as suspects in the case. Police believe they broke into the Siskiyou County Superior Courthouse in Yreka in the early morning hours of Jan. 31, 2012, and swiped $1.26 million in historic gold nuggets, jewelry and other artifacts.
"It was a large piece of our history that was stolen. It kind of hurts on a whole other level," said Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Allison Giannini. "People still want this cause brought to justice even if it's a year later."
Surveillance footage from the crime shows two adult males breaking in through the back of the courthouse, possibly through a window, at about 1 a.m. The alarm did not sound. Officials do not believe it was intentionally cut. After a yearlong investigation, the sheriff's office and members of the Siskiyou County-Wide Interagency Narcotic Task Force issued search warrants for several homes in Shasta and Contra Costa counties in January. They recovered evidence that pointed to Johnson and Bailey as suspects. Sheriff's officials declined to comment on specific evidence found.
"We aren't releasing that at this time just because it's part of the ongoing investigation," Giannini said.
The investigation pointed to some of the stolen gold being used to buy several high-value items.
On Thursday, detectives traveled back to the Bay Area to search for both men, but came up empty-handed. Additional evidence was recovered, however, and law enforcement is optimistic about tracking both men for an arrest.
"Although we still have a lot of work to do in this case, the issuance of the felony arrest warrants should result in the arrest of the suspects," Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said.
— Ryan Pfeil