Two charged in big gold nugget heist

YREKA, Calif. — Two San Francisco Bay area men have been named as suspects in connection with the theft of more than $1 million in gold from a county courthouse’s historical collection, Siskiyou County officials said.

David Dean Johnson, 49, of El Cerrito and Scott Wayne Bailey, 51, of El Sobrante, are wanted on $1 million arrest warrants issued earlier this week, the Redding Record-Searchlight reported Friday.

The two allegedly broke into the gold collection at the Siskiyou County Courthouse in Yreka in February 2012 and made off with $1,257,500 in gold, jewelry and artifacts.

“These thieves stole a part of Siskiyou County history, which represents the hard work, sacrifice, traditions, and pioneer spirit which characterizes the personality of Siskiyou County and its citizens — past and present,” Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said in a statement.

After allegedly making off with the gold, jewelry and artifacts, Johnson and Bailey used the money from the sale of the goods to purchase “high-value” items, Lopey said.

The entire gold collection before the theft was valued at about $3 million. Lopey said it would be “highly speculative” to guess how much of the gold, if any, would eventually be recovered, Lopey said.

When detectives traveled to the Bay Area looking for the two suspects on Thursday, they found additional evidence, Siskiyou County sheriff’s detectives said.

Surveillance footage captured video images of two men breaking into the courthouse at the time of the heist. An alarm that was rigged to notify Yreka police and sheriff’s deputies did not sound at the time.

Yreka, the seat of Siskiyou County, sits in the shadow of 14,000-foot Mount Shasta near the Oregon border.

Miners and other residents donated much of the gold to the collection over the past century, while other pieces were purchased with county funds.

More in Local News

Families begin relocating from public housing complex

Baker Heights is in need of repairs deemed to costly to make, and will be demolished and replaced.

Trail work by juvenile offenders builds resumes, confidence

Kayak Point trails were built out this year by groups from Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

Small fire breaks out at haunted house in Everett

Plastic that was supposed to be noncombustable was sitting next to a hot lightbulb.

Rules of the road for ‘extra-fast pedestrians’ — skateboarders

State traffic law defines them as pedestrians, and yet they are often in the middle of the street.

Distress beacon leads rescuers to Pacific Crest Trail hikers

Two men in their 20s had encountered snow and waited two nights for a helicopter rescue.

Volunteers clean up homeless camp infested with garbage

The organization’s founder used to live and do drugs in the same woods.

Everett mayoral campaign is one of the priciest ever

Many campaign donors are giving to both Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.

City of Everett to give $400K to a nonprofit housing project

The city expects to enter a contract with HopeWorks, an affiliate of Housing Hope.

The way he walked led to police to Everett murder suspect

Then, witnesses said they had heard the man and an alleged accomplice talking about a robbery.

Most Read