Three men were arrested this week in Auburn after sheriff’s deputies discovered stolen chainsaws and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. hard hats in their vehicle.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the four chainsaws and two hard hats were likely taken from PG&E crews near Auburn working on this week’s preventive power shutoff that left nearly 60,000 Northern California customers without power.
Aaron Abeyta, 22, Uriel Brabo, 22 and Juan Leyva, 21, were arrested on suspicion of grand theft, conspiracy and possession of stolen property after a deputy pulled over their vehicle for suspicious behavior around 2 a.m. Monday, according to the news release. The vehicle, driven by Leyva, sped away from a Best Western parking lot and had false registration tags, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The deputy conducting the traffic stop searched the vehicle and found the stolen tools, according to the news release.
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The manager of the Best Western called the Sheriff’s Office early Monday to report that the same vehicle had been surveying the parking lot, with its passengers apparently looking into hotel guests’ vehicles, the news release said.
Leyva faces additional charges of driving without a license, and Abeyta, who owned the vehicle, will face charges of false registration, authorities said.
All three suspects are from Fresno County, according to the news release. Each is being held at Placer County jail with bail set at $10,000.
PG&E’s power shutoff lasted between Sunday and Tuesday night. It was initiated when the National Weather Service issued a red flag advisory, warning of high winds and high fire risk.