Possible cave vandal appears in court
March 20, 2014
A Fallon man suspected of the recent vandalism at Hidden Cave is in custody on unrelated charges.
William McHaney appeared Thursday in Justice Court after he was arrested by local authorities for burglary and grand larceny of a motor vehicle.
Fallon Police Capt. Vern Ulrich said McHaney was arrested by officers on March 14 on three active warrants. All the warrants include charges of burglary, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, obtaining money under false pretenses and contempt of court.
According to the criminal complaint, McHaney broke into a home on Sept. 10, 2013, stole a 1980 Chevy truck. Churchill County Deputy District Attorney Wade Carner said McHaney salvaged the truck.
In addition, Carner said in court McHaney was suspected of the vandalism at the cave, which was discovered March 2.
The cave, near Grimes Point, is on land owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. BLM Public Affairs Specialist Kaitlin Godbey, Carner and Chief Deputy DA Lane Mills all denied comment regarding McHaney's alleged involvement.
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BLM law enforcement, Godbey said, follows policies set by the Department of Justice, which does not allow for comment regarding possible suspects during an open investigation.
Carner's comment came during his objection to McHaney's request to be released on his own recognizance. Mills said it is a deputy's job to inform a judge of any pending cases or suspicions of wrongdoing when a defendant asks for a release or lower bond.
Godbey and Mills both declined comment about the current state of the investigation and whether any other suspects have been identified.
McHaney request to be released on his own recognizance was denied, although his bail was lowered to $5,000. He is scheduled to appear in Justice Court next week.
A BLM law enforcement official said on Friday the case could bring felony charges for those individuals involved with the vandalism.
Godbey said the BLM does not have a monetary estimate of the damage.
In other news —
The Fallon Police Department squashed on Thursday a wild rumor of a suspected online threat directed toward a student or students at Churchill County High School.
Capt. Vern Ulrich said an incident did take place on Tuesday, but the resulting investigation yielding no wrong doing by an unidentified girl at the school.
Ulrich said the rumors returned Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday after a fight between students at the school and the girl's reaction defending her boyfriend.
Ulrich said authorities spoke with representatives from the girl's family, Churchill County School District and CCHS principal and determined no threats were made.
The rumors alleged the girl threatened on Facebook she would bring a gun to school and possibly open fire. Ulrich said the photo in question was posted 11 weeks prior to the incident and had no bearing on the current situation.