By Bay City News Service
One of two East Bay residents wanted in connection with the theft of more than $1.25 million worth of gold items stolen from the Siskiyou County Courthouse more than a year ago was expected to turn himelf in by the end of the day Monday, the sheriff said yesterday.
Gold nuggets, jewelry and other artifacts were taken from a display case at the courthouse at 311 Fourth St. in Yreka on Jan. 31, 2012, Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said.
The artifacts date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, Lopey said. Many items, such as the "shoe" nugget of gold that resembles a foot, were donated to the county and were kept in an alarmed case, Lopey said.
Arrest warrants have been issued for David Dean Johnson, 49, of El Cerrito, and Scott Wayne Bailey, 51, of El Sobrante, who are the primary suspects in the heist, Lopey said.
Lopey said one of the suspects was expected to turn himself into the sheriff's office by the end of the day. He did not specify which suspect was expected to surrender himself.
Last Thursday, Siskiyou County sheriff's detectives were in the Bay Area trying to locate the two men. They were not found, but evidence was seized, Lopey said.
The stolen items have not been recovered, Lopey said.
The sheriff said the Bay Area men have a connection to the Siskiyou and Shasta County areas.
On Jan. 15 of this year, deputies served search warrants at homes in Shasta County and in El Sobrante and the 200 block of Pomona Avenue in El Cerrito, sheriff's officials said.
A $50,000 reward has been offered for information about the suspects connected with the stolen artifacts — which Lopey said are an invaluable part of the county's history.
"They steal a piece of our history," he said. "It's not only embarrassing, but a sad event."
Lopey said the sheriff's office is continuing to investigate if other suspects are involved in the heist.
Anyone with information on the theft or the suspects' whereabouts is asked to contact Siskiyou County sheriff's Detective Yves Pike at (530) 842-8354.
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