Off-duty NHP trooper nabs suspected burglar

An off-duty Nevada Highway Patrol trooper and the division's spokesman, stopped a suspicious vehicle in Pleasant Valley on Monday, and possibly solved two Sparks burglaries.

Trooper Chuck Allen was driving from his work in Carson City to his Reno home about 4:13 p.m. when he spotted a vehicle with an Illinois plate.

Allen said he routinely runs out-of-state plates through dispatch to make certain the vehicles aren't reported stolen. In this instance, according to the report, the plate came back as expired and belonging to a rental car.

Allen stopped the vehicle in the parking lot of the former Steamboat Western Wear store.

He said that when he asked the driver for his driver's license, he noted there was an empty cash-register drawer on the passenger floorboard. As the driver reached into the center console to retrieve paperwork "he grabbed a large amount of paper currency which appeared to be unusual."

Allen also noticed more bills in the door pocket and "an extremely large amount of loose change," in the drink holder.

"That was unusual for a car being rented nine days," Allen wrote.

A check revealed driver Brett C. Combs, 26, had his license suspended for unpaid traffic offenses.

When backup arrived for Allen, he cuffed the driver on the traffic charge and asked him if he had any weapons.

"He stated he had a pistol and a rifle inside the car," Allen wrote.

Officers allegedly recovered two rifles and two revolvers and a loaded semi-automatic handgun. A check written out to Cost Cutters in Sparks was also found, which prompted troopers to call Sparks police and learn of two recent burglaries of Cost Cutters.

Combs was booked on charges of expired registration, suspended registration and being an felon in possession of firearms.

Additional charges from Sparks are likely pending, Allen said.

"Even our public information officers make arrests in between their other duties," Major Tony Almarez, chief deputy for NHP, said in a press release.

"Even while performing duties as a public icon for drivers' safety and information, Trooper Allen, a seasoned veteran, is also mindful of other potential crimes within our community."


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