Man jailed in bypass metal theft

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat

A Sonora man accused of stealing equipment from the East Sonora Bypass construction site late last month was arrested again Thursday, this time on suspicion of stealing scrap metal from the same place.

Jeremia Taylor, 31, of the 19700 block of Serrano Road, was booked into Tuolumne County Jail on suspicion of theft at 9:26 p.m., according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office.

He was additionally booked on suspicion of dissuading a witness or victim after he allegedly also tried threatening the construction site manager to drop the charges from his first arrest, the Sheriff's Office said.

Taylor's first arrest was on Sept. 28, when earlier that day Sheriff's dispatchers received a call that someone had taken two bulldozer scraper blades to redeem for cash at a Sonora-area scrap metal recycling business, according to Sheriff's dispatch records.

The scraper blades, worth $1,000, had allegedly been stolen from the bypass construction site, the dispatch records stated.

The suspect was identified as Taylor and he was arrested on suspicion of grand theft just hours after the Sheriff's dispatchers received the report, according to Sheriff's Office reports.

Tuolumne County Superior Court records showed Taylor posted $20,000 bail the next day and was released from jail.

He was arraigned Wednesday, but the hearing was continued until Oct. 24 and Taylor was allowed to remain out of custody on bond, according to the records.

On Thursday, a Sheriff's sergeant was patrolling the area of the bypass construction site around 6:30 p.m. when he noticed a white Ford truck on the future westbound on-ramp from Peaceful Oak Road, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement released Friday.

Upon further investigation, the Sheriff's sergeant noticed the truck was loaded with $500 worth of scrap metal and identified Taylor as the driver with two passengers in the truck's cab, the statement said.

Taylor claimed he had permission to take the scrap metal, which was identified in dispatch records as a "steel guard rail," but could not produce a note from the site manager or a phone number for contact, the Sheriff's Office said.

The Sheriff's sergeant reportedly recognized Taylor from his previous arrest and ordered him to unload the truck and leave.

The site manager later told law enforcement officers that Taylor did not have permission to be on the site or remove anything from it, the Sheriff's Office said. The manager additionally alleged that the last time Taylor was arrested, he threatened to come back and steal all of the diesel fuel on the site if the charges weren't dropped, according to the report.

Taylor was arrested Thursday night at his home and booked into Tuolumne County Jail on $20,000 bail. He was again released after posting bail, according to jail officials.

The two passengers identified in Taylor's vehicle were not arrested in connection with the incident, because they claimed Taylor told them he had permission to take the metal and there was no evidence to prove otherwise, Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jeff Wilson said.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4530.

11882369
The Union Democrat
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