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Arrest made in historic gold theft case

 Posted: 8:40 AM April 02, 2013

YREKA — One of the two men suspected in snatching $1.26 million in historic gold from the Siskiyou County Courthouse last year is behind bars, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office reported.

David Dean Johnson, 49, of El Cerrito, Calif., turned himself into police Monday, April 1. He is currently held in the Siskiyou County Jail on $1 million bail.

"We are glad that (he) chose to surrender, and we are hopeful that with one of the primary suspects in custody that we can develop additional information that will help us bring this major crime to a successful conclusion," said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey. "Although we still have a lot of work to do in this case, Mr. Johnson's arrest is a welcomed development."

The second suspect, 51-year-old Scott Wayne Bailey, of El Sobrante, Calif., is still at large. Sheriff's department officials named both men as suspects last week.

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information about his whereabouts or other information related to the case should contact Det. Yves Pike at 530-842-8354, or by contacting the department's 24-hour dispatch number, 530-841-2900.

Police allege that Johnson and Bailey broke into the Siskiyou County Superior Courthouse in Yreka in the early morning hours of Jan. 31, 2012. Video surveillance shows two men breaking in through the rear of the building, possibly through a window, before swiping $1.26 million in historic gold nuggets, jewelry and other artifacts. The alarm did not sound, but police do not believe it was disabled intentionally.

The investigation pointed to the suspects using the stolen gold to purchase several high-value items. None of the stolen gold has been recovered.

— Ryan Pfeil

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