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.
David Dean Johnson, 49, of El Cerrito, Calif., turned himself into police on Monday. He was being 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," Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said Tuesday. "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 Office officials named both men as suspects last week.
Police allege that Johnson and Bailey broke into the Siskiyou County Superior Courthouse in Yreka in the early morning hours of Jan. 31. Video surveillance shows two men breaking in through the rear of the building, possibly through a window, before making off with $1.26 million in historic gold nuggets, jewelry and other artifacts. The alarm did not sound, but police do not think it was disabled intentionally.
After a yearlong investigation, the Sheriff's Office and members of the Siskiyou Countywide Interagency Narcotic Task Force issued search warrants for homes Shasta and Contra Costa counties. Police recovered evidence from those searches that pointed to Johnson and Bailey as suspects, including DNA evidence. Police have declined to comment on additional pieces of evidence found.
The investigation indicated the suspects had used the stolen gold to purchase several high-value items. None of the stolen gold has been recovered.
Last week police traveled back to the San Francisco Bay Area to search for both men but were unsuccessful. Johnson turned himself in days later.
"It's excellent. It shows that the hard work we've been putting in is starting to pay off," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Allison Giannini.
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction related to the case. Anyone with information about Bailey's whereabouts or other information related to the case should call Detective Yves Pike at 530-842-8354, or call the department's 24-hour dispatch number at 530-841-2900.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.