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District Attorney updates mail theft case, as well as other criminal complaints

Thank you all for your continued support and patience during these difficult times. Below is a very quick update on some cases recently reported on or the subject of calls to the DA’s office. We, at the DA’s office, are working extremely hard to maintain our high expectations in serving the public but with having but two prosecutors; a steady, if not increasing, level of crime; and having to make adjustments to make sure our office is not crippled due to a Covid outbreak, our challenges are significant.

People v. Jessica Jene Nally, age 38 of Quincy. Nally, on felony probation for two theft-related crimes, is accused in an 8 count complaint of Second Degree Felony Burglary and 7 counts of mail theft. Nally is accused of stealing mail from the Quincy Post Office between June and December 2020. On Jan. 8, 2020 the Honorable Michele Verderosa issued a “no bail” bench warrant for Nally’s arrest. We have requested, and are working with, the federal government during this investigation and prosecution. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done given the huge volume of items recovered from Ms. Nally’s residence.

If you see Ms. Nally or know of her whereabouts, please contact the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center at 283-6300.

If you believe you have had mail or packages stolen either from a PO Box or your residential mailbox, I urge you to contact Sgt. Steve Peay at the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office (283-6300).

I would also note my sincere appreciation for the heroic efforts of an alert citizen in observing crimes being undertaken and taking appropriate, safe steps to assist law enforcement as well as the tenacious efforts of Plumas County Sheriff’s Deputy Chrissy Ross in solving these crimes. This investigation, both as to additional victims and additional perpetrators is continuing. I understand being victimized by the theft of your mail, during the holidays and at the height of a pandemic, is beyond upsetting, I thank our community, in advance, for their assistance and patience as we work to complete this investigation and prosecution.

People v. Randy Scott Lay, age 59 of Christmas Valley, Oregon was arrested on Jan. 3, 2021 following a pursuit along Highway 395 and 70 from Susanville through Portola. Lay was eventually apprehended with the use of a spike strip and PIT maneuver which disabled Lay’s vehicle. The front windshield of Lay’s vehicle had to be shot-out with a less than lethal round in order to arrest Lay after he is alleged to have tried to run over a CHP Officer. The level of restraint and professionalism used by the numerous CHP officers in safely bringing this exceptionally dangerous situation to a relatively peaceful conclusion cannot be overstated. Lay is next scheduled to be in court on Jan. 22, 2021.

People v. Joseph Hernandez, age 25 of Quincy, was arrested on Dec. 28, 2020 for felony crimes of burglary, grand theft, possession of stolen property and misdemeanor petty theft. Mr. Hernandez is also alleged to have previously suffered a “strike” prior conviction. Hernandez is accused of burglarizing the Plumas County Fairgrounds as well as breaking into a vehicle with the investigation unveiling a drug addiction to be a motivating factor. There, again, outstanding efforts of Deputy Chrissy Ross allowed these crimes to be solved quickly. Mr. Hernandez is scheduled to next appear in court on Jan. 22, 2021.

EDD Theft: At the behest of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) I am part of a task force working on EDD (Employment Development Department) Fraud. Specifically, this fraud has been found with prison and jail inmates unlawfully collecting pandemic unemployment assistance while serving their sentence. CDAA is projecting this may be the largest fraud investigation in California history with losses potentially reaching four billion dollars statewide. This theft is particularly galling knowing these fraudulent unemployment claims deny those who have lost their employment, many due to COVID-19, who are legally eligible for benefits and are truly in need of help from this safety net. In Plumas County, we have received outstanding efforts from Sgt. April Gott at the jail to identify all inmates housed during the relevant time. Investigations Supervisor Jessica Beatley and myself are working with our designated EDD Investigator to cross check our inmates with those receiving benefits. We hope to have these results in the coming week. Should we find inmates at our jail illegally received benefits we will continue to work with CDAA and the EDD to aggressively investigate and prosecute these crimes.

Chester Crime Issues: I very much appreciate the calls and emails expressing concern about the number and types of crime in the Lake Almanor basin, particularly Chester. I have noticed this troubling trend from the crime reports we have received. These types of violent and property crimes are not normally associated with the north part of our county in the winter, and it appears the root of many of these crimes appears to revolve around drug addiction and mental illness. In the coming weeks, local law enforcement leaders will seek a meeting with Board Chair Jeff Engel and District Three Supervisor Sherrie Thrall in an effort to prioritize public safety and provide specific and immediate steps to address these problems. I very much appreciate the ongoing efforts and insight of Supervisor Hagwood in this area. Again, I appreciate, hear and agree with the concerns expressed. I will do my very best to address these issues now before these problems get worse.

These are very trying times. At the District Attorney’s Office we will do our very best to continue to dodge this virus and maintain our daily operations while working hard to make sure Plumas County receives the level of public service it deserves. I continue to appreciate each of your efforts to help each other and strive to make Plumas County as healthy, safe and just as possible.

Respectfully yours,

DAVID HOLLISTER

District Attorney

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