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Hearing Reveals Details About El Cerrito Man's Involvement in Siskiyou County Gold Heist

David Dean Johnson of El Cerrito has been ordered to stand trial for the theft of more than $1.25 million in gold nuggets and artifacts.

An anonymous informant seeking a $50,000 reward identified David Dean Johnson, 41, of El Cerrito as one of two men who stole more than $1.25 million in gold from a Siskiyou County courthouse last year, a witness testified at Johnson's preliminary hearing Monday, according to an article in the Siskiyou Daily.

Detective Yves Pike of the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said he was contacted by the informant immediately after the reward for information on the theft was raised from $15,000 to $50,000. 

Johnson and Scott Wayne Bailey, 51, of El Sobrante, are primary suspects in the theft of gold nuggets, jewelry and other artifacts from a display case at the courthouse at 311 Fourth St. in Yreka on Jan. 31, 2012, sheriff's officials have said.

Johnson remains in custody on $1 million bail after turning himself in to Siskiyou County authorities. An arrest warrant has been issued for Bailey. 

Other key testimony in Monday's hearing, according to the Siskiyou Daily:

—Detective Pike said DNA from a swab taken after Johnson's arrest matched DNA evidence from a water bottle found outside the courthouse after the theft.

—Johnson's wife purchased a new Harley Davidson motorcycle for him in February of 2012, paying $20,000 in cash, Pike said.

—The burglars pried open a restroom window to enter the courthouse.

—An alarm system attached to the display case containing the gold failed to activate becuse of a loose wire.

In January, search warrants connected to the case were served at homes in the Bay Area, including a home in the 200 block of Pomona Avenue in El Cerrito, and in Shasta County, sheriff's officials said.

The stolen items, which include nuggets dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, were not recovered, according to the sheriff's office.

At the conclusion of Monday's hearing, Siskiyou County Superior Court Judge Karen Dixon ordered Johnson to stand trial on one court of commercial burglary and a special enhancement. Johnson is scheduled to return to court on May 1.

You may read a detailed report of the hearing in this Siskiyou Daily article.

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