A Monterey County couple was ordered to stand trial today for allegedly stealing property from a Santa Rosa apartment that burned during the Tubbs Fire last month. Johnathon Conner, 30, and Christina Marsh, 22, were held to answer in Sonoma County Superior Court for felony charges including grand theft, vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
The items they allegedly stole include jewelry, women’s clothing, a flat-screen television, laptop, Xbox, video games and a wood box containing the ashes of the victims’ pet dog. Testimony by Santa Rosa police officers at a preliminary hearing this morning indicated Conner stole a Ford F-250 truck in Monterey County and the identification of someone from a wallet in a park in Monterey County. The license plates on the truck were stolen from a vehicle in Rohnert Park, according to Santa Rosa police.
The pair allegedly purchased two hand-held radios from a Home Depot near the burned Fountaingrove neighborhood of Santa Rosa that are capable of scanning law enforcement frequencies. Marsh also had a similar scanning app on her cellphone, Santa Rosa police Officer Vaughn Richter testified. Conner and Marsh then drove on Oct. 28 to The Overlook apartments in the 200 block of Bicentennial Way in the Fountaingrove area, where a declaration of a state of emergency was still in effect.
Conner allegedly made two trips from the apartment with the stolen merchandise while Marsh waited in the truck, according to the testimony. One neighbor took a video of the suspicious truck and another citizen gave police a description of the white male and female occupants, according to the testimony. Police responded and pursued the truck, which drove in excess of the speed limit and through several red lights to west Santa Rosa.
The officers lost sight of the truck but found it parked on private property on Bel Air Way with the television and other property in the truck bed. Marsh and Conner were found on Royal Oak Place and arrested. Officers found other stolen property in their possession, police said. Conner identified himself as the man whose wallet he stole, but police learned his true name a day later through booking photos in the Monterey County jail.
There were at least four arrests for looting in the Santa Rosa burn areas, and today’s hearing was the first case to advance to a preliminary hearing in Sonoma County Superior Court. Judge Elliot Daum held Conner and Marsh to answer to 10 felony counts, which also include identity theft and possession of burglary tools, and scheduled Nov. 22 for re-entry of pleas.
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