Thursday May 07 2009
Mother, daughter arrested in Downtown Auburn hold up
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Stolen generator located in back of truck
What one mother thought was a “sign from God” ended up landing her and her daughter in jail Thursday. Tamera Strickland, 47, and her 29-year-old daughter, Shylla Weston, who both share an address of High Street in Oroville, were arrested on charges of possession of stolen property and conspiracy after they allegedly stole a generator from the back of a pickup truck. “(Strickland) said she and her daughter were driving along and saw a generator in the back of a pickup truck off Sierra College Boulevard,” Placer Sheriff Sgt. Brian Whigam said Thursday. “She thought it was an omen from God so they could make money and sell it.” Whigam said Weston, who was the driver, opted not to talk to deputies. The mother-daughter duo were arrested at gunpoint in Downtown Auburn late Thursday morning. Placer sheriff’s deputies and Auburn Police officials surrounded a small white pickup with two female passengers inside. With guns drawn, several officers and deputies carefully watched as one deputy called out orders to the women in the truck, which was stopped on Highway 49 in Downtown Auburn near the clock tower. As one female was being cuffed and put into a patrol car, the deputy called out to the second female in the truck. He shouted for her to keep her hands in the air, slide to one side and carefully walk out backward toward the sound of his voice. After both females were out of the truck and in custody, the deputy called out that if anyone else was in the truck and did not surrender the deputies would send in their police dog, which would bite. Authorities approached the vehicle and searched the truck. They recovered a stolen generator that was covered by a blue tarp in the back of the truck, according to Placer Sheriff Sgt. Brian Whigam. A bystander said he was surprised at the amount of police presence for what appeared to be the apprehension of two non-violent criminals. “In my opinion it was overkill,” said Auburn resident Allen Cassidy. Cassidy said he stayed inside High Street Café, which was next to where the truck was stopped, and watched the action unfold. “They treated these two women like they were public enemy No. 1,” Cassidy said. “To me, it was just an overreaction.” Cassidy said he thinks the about 10-or-so officers present should have showed more restraint. “I believe in law enforcement and I’m not against law enforcement but you have to use common sense,” Cassidy said. Another witness, Downtown Auburn storeowner Jerry Kopp, said he had peeked out of his shop before law enforcement ordered him back inside. “I know they never know what they’ll run into so as far as I’m concerned it wasn’t overkill,” Kopp. “It was fun to watch.” Whigam said when it is a felony in progress, such as the incident Thursday, law enforcement takes extra precautions. “We really don’t know who the people are,” Whigam said. “We know it’s a felony in progress and in possession of stolen property but we don’t know who the people are.” Whigam said in that situation, a deputy or officer calls for backup before making a stop. Deputy Kevin Griffiths did call for backup after he spotted the vehicle at Maidu Market on Auburn Folsom Road. By the time the vehicle approached Downtown Auburn, a handful of other law enforcement in the area had responded as well. “We cleared everybody once everything was safe,” Whigam said. Whigam said an anonymous tip led authorities to find the truck driving along Auburn Folsom Road. Whigam said the deputy following the truck waited until he had back up before pulling over the vehicle. Whigam said the driver pulled off to the side of the road without incident. Whigam said authorities plan to contact the victim, who they believe is out of Loomis. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at email@example.com or post a comment.