Citizens help detain Gardnerville burglary suspects

Stephanie Chapa

Stephanie Chapa

MINDEN — Two suspects were arrested after a burglary at the Wal-Mart in Gardnerville and a confrontation with a deputy ensued, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Stephanie Chapa and Clarence Garcia, both age 35 and from Reno, were arrested on suspicion of burglary, grand larceny, principal to a felony, possession of an instrument with burglarious intent, conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia. A male was also arrested after being involved in a confrontation with a deputy.

On Feb. 17 at about 9:20 a.m., deputies responded to the Wal-Mart located at 1511 Grant Ave., in Gardnerville for a shoplifting incident. Upon arrival they were told three suspects, two males and a female, left the store with a gray plastic tote containing cameras and camera equipment. The suspects fled out the rear fire door and left in a gray Kia with Nevada plates driven by a female.

At 9:38 a.m. a deputy saw a gray Kia with three occupants traveling northbound on Highway 395 at Cradlebaugh Bridge in Minden and initiated a traffic stop near Silver City RV Park.

The deputy observed the male in the rear passenger seat attempt to hide in the vehicle as he approached, and the deputy opened the door to investigate as other deputies responded to assist. The male passenger exited the vehicle and a struggle ensued between the deputy and the suspect in the No. 2 lane of Highway 395. One citizen stopped to assist the deputy fighting with the suspect. He was pushed by the suspect and received a minor cut to his hand.

When the suspect was able to, he ran northbound on the shoulder and the deputy deployed his taser. The suspect fell to the ground, and three other citizens stopped to assist the deputy who placed the suspect in handcuffs.

Paramedics were called and the suspect who fought with the deputy was transported to the hospital for removal of the taser probes. A warrant will be issued for him on suspicion of battery on a peace officer, and obstruction of a peace officer.

The remaining occupants of the vehicle were arrested after a search warrant was obtained, and several items of property from Wal-Mart were recovered, including five cameras, a handy cam, a Go Pro camera, and clothing. An employee of Wal-Mart responded to the scene and identified the suspects and the stolen property, which was valued at $3,509. Deputies located a powered-on set of hand-held radios and drug paraphernalia inside the suspects’ vehicle.

The Wal-Mart employee allegedly was aware of these suspects involved in four past thefts at various Wal-Marts in the jurisdictions of Fallon Police and Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

DCSO is grateful to the citizens who jumped into action and got involved and assisted the deputy.

DCSO recommends the following actions to those if they witness a similar incident.

If approaching a physical confrontation and you decide he needs assistance, yell out from a distance to the police officer “Do you need help? What can I do?” If you have a concealed weapon permit and you have your weapon, don’t have your weapon visible. Yell to the officer you legally have a concealed weapon. You may have to repeat it several times because the officer is so focused on the threat. If he answers you, follow his directions. The instructions may be simply to stop traffic, or something more involved.

Nevada has many concealed carry permit owners and bringing a gun openly to a physical confrontation involving a peace officer could get you shot. The deputy doesn’t know if you are a good guy or a bad guy, but if you have a gun out of the holster, you’ll be perceived as another threat to him. Add to the fact most likely other deputies are responding to assist and when they arrive they will see you with a gun. Don’t have your gun out and decide to assist law enforcement. Wait for instructions.


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