MENDOCINO COUNTY – What was Andrew Wyatt Beyer doing in Laytonville? The 35-year-old man is from Applegate Oregon, a small town in the southern part of the state nestled in the valleys west of Medford. Largely rural, it is known for vineyards and wineries. On Thursday, August 13, Beyer was far from home, but in a similar town. The small community of Laytonville is located along Highway 101 in the inland valleys of Mendocino County, north of Willits and Ukiah. If he was visiting friends, they were nowhere to be found as he got into trouble.
So while the reason Beyer was in Laytonville may not be clear, what he was up to can be discerned from reports coming from two different agencies. According to the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office, it appears that Beyer broke into a man’s home on Ramsey Road, in central Laytonville, near the Elementary School. While the man slept, on Wednesday, August 12 into the early hours of Thursday, Beyer entered the house, went to the refrigerator and helped himself to some beer, and looked around. He found the homeowner’s decorative sword, and a Winchester rifle. He may have taken other items, but nothing else was initially reported missing.
After finishing up a few beers, and leaving the empties around the place, and perhaps even taking a rest in the home, Beyer left the house. As he was leaving, he left the front door open, and the homeowner’s 16-year-old Husky, known for being a very friendly breed of dog, left the house as well, perhaps even following Beyer out. But Beyer did not take the dog with him, and it remained missing.
Beyer dropped the rifle in the tall grass as he left, and held onto the sword. Looking around the neighborhood, he found a vehicle he could steal, and headed out, getting on the 101 Freeway south, and apparently feeling the effects of the beers he had enjoyed. As he reached Willits Thursday morning, just over 20 miles away, he was in a traffic collision. Being in a stolen vehicle, he probably felt it not wise to stop, and continued on from the scene. A CHP officer was on him, however, and he was arrested for driving under the influence, hit and run, vehicle theft, and possession of the stolen vehicle. He happened to make a comment to the officer about “drinking someone else’s beer”.
Beyer was booked into the Mendocino County jail on those charges at noon Thursday. The CHP investigation revealed where the vehicle was stolen from, and on Saturday, the CHP officer and Mendocino Deputy were able to compare notes, making the connection between the location and the beer. The deputy interviewed Beyer about the case, connecting him to the burglary, and where to find the Winchester rifle. The location of the sword, however, remained a mystery. Burglary was added to his booking list, and he is being held on $50,000 bail, awaiting his first court appearance on September 2, with a preliminary hearing set for September 9.