Placerville, CA, May 16, 2017 - Two suspects have pled guilty to stealing from fee tubes on the Eldorado National Forest and other sites in El Dorado County. This is the culmination of a multi-agency investigation that took place for over a year. The turning point in the case was when USDA Forest Service officers received a report from a member of the public who found a large number of used Forest Service fee envelopes in a dumpster. This evidence indicated that over $700 in visitor fees had been stolen from a forest recreation site on at least one occasion.
"We take this kind of crime seriously," said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. "Recreation fees are used to maintain national forest campgrounds, picnic areas, and other facilities. Stealing this money is an offense against forest visitors who should expect these sites to be maintained with their fees."
One suspect has pled guilty to a felony - conspiracy to commit a crime with theft and 2nd degree burglary. This defendant will be placed on 4 years probation, and will serve 120 days in the El Dorado County jail. The other suspect has pled to a misdemeanor - petty theft - and will be placed on probation for 3 years. This defendant will serve a 45 day jail alternative sentence which could be served in Placer County or El Dorado County. The pre-trial date for determining restitution has been set for June 5, 2017 at the El Dorado County Superior Court.
Officers from the Eldorado National Forest, Tahoe National Forest, and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit all contributed to the investigation. The role of the public in reporting suspicious activity was also essential to the outcome of this case. Providing tips to law enforcement helps prevent crime and will be held in confidence. If you have a crime tip related to a national forest, call the nearest Forest Supervisor's Office -- Eldorado National Forest (530)-622-5061; Tahoe National Forest (530) 265-4531; or Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (530) 543-2600.