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Two Nevada County men held on $2 million bond after allegedly botching home invasion

Derrick Thomas was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy, kidnapping for ransom, assault with a firearm and vehicle theft.
Derrick Thomas was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy, kidnapping for ransom, assault with a firearm and vehicle theft. Placer County Sheriff's Office

Two men and a female accomplice were arrested late last week after authorities say they broke into a man's home, tied up his caretaker and made off with cash, guns and the victim's car.

Penn Valley resident Derrick Michael Thomas, 30, was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy, kidnapping for ransom, assault with a firearm and vehicle theft, all felonies. He remains in Placer County Jail on $2.15 million bail.

Lukas Mathew, 44, and Amanda Jean Robertsen, 28, both Grass Valley area transients, were also arrested in connection with the robbery. Mathew faces the same charges as Thomas aside from vehicle theft, while Robertsen was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery, conspiracy and an unrelated charge of operating a drug house. Robertsen is being held without bail, while Mathew's bail was set at $2.325 million.

At around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, Thomas and Mathew allegedly cut the power to a Newcastle house and snuck in through a side garage door while Robertsen waited outside in a getaway car, according to a Placer County Sheriff's Office media release distributed Monday. Armed with a gun and wearing masks, they crept into the male resident's bedroom and held him at gunpoint, claiming to be police officers with a warrant for his arrest, the release said.

One of the suspects allegedly found the man's caretaker in another room and brought her into the victim's bedroom before binding her hands. They then allegedly ransacked the house, stealing firearms and cash, before Thomas drove off in the man's car and Mathew hopped in Robertsen's vehicle.

Both victims were unharmed, and the man quickly called 911 after the suspects left. As a deputy approached the house, he allegedly spotted Thomas driving away in the victim's car. By the time the deputy turned around and located the car, it had been driven off a cliff and abandoned.

Thomas was arrested in the surrounding within an hour and booked into Placer County Main Jail around 8:45 a.m. Robertsen and Mathew were arrested separately in Nevada County and booked at 10:15 p.m. Thursday and 2:45 a.m. Friday respectively.

Benjy Egel: (916) 321-1052, begel@sacbee.com

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