Visitors from Washington Caught Stealing Near Sequoia National Park
Two suspects from Washington were arrested near Sequoia National Park after allegedly stealing purses and backpacks from at least 35 victims.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department arrested 34-year-old Thomas Moore and 27-year-old Keeley Patrick, both from Everrete, Wash., on Saturday afternoon.
The case began when a witness saw a suspicious vehicle leaving the Indian Head parking lot at the Ash Mountain entrance to Sequoia National Park. The same witness “subsequently observed a vehicle with a broken window and immediately notified Park Rangers,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s department.
After getting a detailed description of the suspicious vehicle, identified as a U-Haul truck, from the witness, the rangers issued a “be on the lookout” bulletin to local law enforcement.
Shortly after, the truck was spotted in nearby Three Rivers, near Hwy. 198 and North Fork Drive. Deputies responding to the scene found Moore, the driver of the vehicle, to be in possession of burglary tools. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed several purses, back packs, and other belongings, which were seized as evidence.
“While inventorying the items seized, narcotics were located along with credit cards and the personal identification of approximately 35 additional victims,” according to the sheriff’s department.
At least two of the victims who were visiting Sequoia National Park have already had their stolen purses and an iPod returned to them.
If the property was stolen in the park, the suspects could be charged with federal offenses. An investigation into where the property was stolen from is ongoing.
Moore had multiple out-of-state, active felony warrants out for his arrest.
Both suspects face charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, forgery, petty theft with prior arrests, using stolen credit cards, possession of burglary tools, conspiracy, and possession of smoking devices.