The Napa County Sheriff’s Office arrested three men Wednesday on suspicion of attempting to burglarize the Honig Vineyard for the purpose of stealing solar panels.Sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart said deputies responded at 1 a.m. Wednesday after an alarm sounded at the Rutherford vineyard’s solar panel field. A deputy noticed a blue Toyota 4 Runner backed into some brush east of the solar field but did not locate any suspects, Stuart said.The deputy staked out the Toyota and at 6:48 a.m. a suspect returned to the vehicle, Stuart said.
The suspect, identified as James Deakins, 43, an East Bay transient, had spent the night in a field near a cattle coral near the vineyard and was given a ride back to the Toyota by a rancher, Stuart said. Deakins told the rancher his vehicle broke down, Stuart said.Deakins was arrested for trespassing and possession of burglary
tool, including bolt cutters, found in the truck, Stuart said.Sheriff’s deputies found Scott Phillips, 36, of Stockton and Roger Freitas, 41, of Oakley walking on Silverado Trail near Skellenger Lane around 8:10 a.m., Stuart said. All three men apparently fled the vineyard when the alarm sounded, Stuart said.All three men were arrested for attempted burglary, conspiracy to commit a felony and possession of burglary tools, Stuart said. Phillips also was arrested for committing a felony while on bail or on supervised own recognizance and Deakins also was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, Stuart said.The suspects were still in the Napa County jail this afternoon, Stuart said. Detectives are investigating whether the men are responsible for
some of the 16 thefts of solar panels, mostly from wineries and vineyards in the county since June 2008, Stuart said.The Honig Vineyard was victimized twice, Stuart said. In November 2008, 39 solar panels were stolen and 22 more were stolen in May 2009, Stuart said.
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