Auburn bell ringer nabs shopping center thief | News
AUBURN, CA - You never know who's going to be ringing the bell for the Salvation Army.
A thief who stole a laptop computer from a Best Buy store came face to face with a Placer County sheriff's detective who was volunteering Wednesday as a bell ringer.
"We were out here doing what we call the Battle of the Badges," explained Det. Jim Hudson. "Every year, law enforcement in the Placer County community goes out and rings the bell for the Salvation Army."
While Hudson was ringing the bell outside the Bel Air store on Grass Valley Highway, a thief ran out of the nearby Best Buy with a $600 laptop.
But the crook and a companion abandoned their getaway car when they turned into the Bel Air parking lot and saw the two sheriff's patrol cars driven by the bell ringers, apparently thinking they were responding to the theft report.
"If they had just driven through, they would have gotten away," Hudson said.
An off-duty sheriff's deputy who happened to be shopping at Best Buy put out a vehicle description, and Hudson was waiting at the car when the suspected thief returned after changing clothes.
Robert Vernon Giese, 29, of North Highlands, was charged with felony commercial burglary and held in lieu of $20,000 bail. His companion did not return to the car.
"People think that we make this stuff up. We don't," Hudson said. "We come to work every day and it just happens."
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net