Three people, including a 17-year-old boy , have been arrested in the theft of approximately $23,000 worth of dive equipment used by the Butte County Dive and Rescue Team and members of the Butte County sheriff's Search and Rescue in water rescues and recoveries.
The theft was discovered about 1 p.m. March 21, after it was found that someone had broken into trailers at the Butte County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue building in Chico. Locks on trailers had been cut to gain entry and steal the equipment, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
During their investigation, detectives determined that the burglary was connected to a recent burglary at the Skyway Golf Park.
On Saturday, investigators identified 29-year-old Dusty Mason of Magalia and a 17-year-old boy as suspects in both burglaries, according to the news release. Detectives interviewed the teen, who confessed to the Search and Rescue burglary and told detectives that some of the stolen property was concealed at Mason's mother's house in Tehama County.
Detectives contacted Mason's mother and searched her residence. Approximately $10,000 worth of equipment associated with the burglaries was recovered during the search, the news release said.
Investigators learned that additional property stolen in the burglaries was thrown into the Sacramento River.
Detectives contacted the Butte County Dive and Rescue Team and the sheriff's Marine Unit, which collected $2,500 worth of equipment in the river. Approximately $10,500 worth of dive masks, scuba tanks and miscellaneous scuba equipment is still missing, according to the news release.
Mason was arrested on suspicion of burglary, violation of probation, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property, while the 17-year-old was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and burglary.
In addition, Kayla Keehl, 26, of Magalia, was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property and being an accessory.
The Sheriff's Office noted that the Butte County Dive and Rescue Team and the sheriff's Search and Rescue team are the only water rescue teams in the county.
"The loss of equipment associated to this theft is detrimental to their mission to provide water rescue and recovery services to the citizens of Butte County," the news release states.
Anyone who finds dive equipment near the Sacramento River is asked to call the Butte County Sheriff's Office Felony Investigation Unit at 530-538-7671.