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MENDOCINO // Police have arrested a Fort Bragg man for felony vandalism after he was caught commandeering a shipping container for his own use.
On January 4th just after 6:30 PM, Sheriff’s Deputies were alerted to a burglary in progress on the 14000 block of Prairie Way.
On scene, deputies spoke with the victim — identified as Michael Kerr (36) — who told them he and a friend had arrived to discover the lock on their shipping container had been replaced with a different one. Later, when the two returned to replace it, they found two unidentified men near the container.
Kerr then contacted law enforcement, all the while following the two men in his vehicle while they fled on foot. One of them — later identified as 33-year-old Ernie Salo — ran into the woods. The other — 30-year-old Samuel Ruczak — continued along Prairie Way, where Kerr eventually got out of his vehicle and confronted him. Ruczak responded by threatening physical harm, during which he is also reported to have been holding a metal pipe.
While Kerr was able to get back into his car and avoid harm, Ruczak went to work on his vehicle with the pipe, striking it several times in numerous spots. Fortunately, deputies arrived quickly and took him into custody.
He is charged with criminal threats and felony vandalism, with damage to Kerr’s vehicle amounting to about $1200. Deputies also searched the area for Salo, but were unsucessful. Ruczak was later booked into the Mendocino County Jail on $115,000 bond.