Crime - Sacto 911

Stolen mini crane, vehicles, camping equipment recovered in Nevada County

One thing led to another, according to investigators.

A burglary and a shoplifting incident led Nevada County sheriff’s deputies and Grass Valley police into an complicated investigation Tuesday that turned up a stash of stolen property, including a one-of-a-kind mini crane, stolen vehicles and high-dollar camping equipment.

It began with the theft of a quad-runner and halogen construction lights in a burglary Tuesday morning at a construction site on Pasquale Road near Cascade Shores, according to a Sheriff’s Office Facebook post.

Later in the day, Grass Valley police arrested a shoplifter caught by security officers at a Kmart store. Police checked the suspect’s car and found the halogen construction lights.

Deputies and police officers ran the license plate on the car and found a home address on Goldbug Lane in Cascade Shores, near the burglary site. Officers went to the address to see if they could spot a quad-runner in plain view, the news release said. The homeowner allowed deputies to look around common areas, including a garage, that the homeowner shared with other tenants on the property.

In the garage, deputies found a mini crane used to transport large pieces of glass on job sites. A detective did a “Google” search to find out what a crane like that would cost. He then called the manufacturer and learned that this was the only crane of its kind in the United States and had been sold to Pro Glass in Grass Valley, the news release said. Pro Glass confirmed that the crane and been stolen, and it was valued at $100,000.

Deputies also found a cargo trailer in the driveway that had been stolen out of Red Bluff filled with expensive camping equipment.

Deputies obtained a search warrant for the residence and found two drilled-out safes, numerous pieces of camping equipment from the Red Bluff trailer theft and other items that they suspect were stolen, the news release said.

As the mini-crane was being towed from the garage, the tow truck driver reported seeing a large Ford Excursion slowly roll by the bottom of the driveway. Grass Valley police had received a report earlier in the day of a man in a similar SUV stealing packages out of a customer’s truck at the BriarPatch food co-op, according to the news release. Deputies also recalled a bulletin from the Truckee Police Department reporting that a Ford Excursion was stolen in Truckee and a Toyota Tundra from Grass Valley was left in its place.

Residents at the Goldbug Lane address told deputies that the man linked to the crane and trailer had recently driven a Toyota but currently had a Ford Excursion.

A Grass Valley police officer spotted the Excursion on Highway 49 about the time deputies were completing their search at the Goldbug Lane site. The driver of the Excursion led officers in a chase through town and up Highway 20 toward the Five Mile House, the news release said.

The pursuit ended when the Excursion ran out of fuel at Harmony Ridge Road and Highway 20.

Grass Valley police arrested Arjuna Ramakar, 50, of Nevada City on suspicion of felony evading and driving a stolen vehicle. The investigation of Ramakar’s links to the series of thefts and the stolen property is continuing, the news release said.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy