By Julietta Bisharyan
WOODLAND, CA – Two Yolo County men are being charged with allegedly stealing two chainsaws from a local arborist, the chainsaws being valued at a total of $2150.
During a preliminary hearing, defendants Brian Ronald Martin and Christopher Michael Scheurman faced felony counts for attempted grand theft. The two had been pulled over by an officer for their truck’s expired license and the chainsaws were discovered after the car was searched. The arborist later identified the chainsaws. The prelim was held on Zoom and live-streamed on YouTube.
Deputy District Attorney Alex Kian called forth the first witness, Deputy Jose Vera, who was then sworn in through the live hearing. Deputy Vera has been a peace officer for the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office for seven years.
To identify the two defendants in the courtroom, the court had Martin and Scheurman approach the camera on the bench, one by one, and remove their masks.
“He looks familiar from this distance,” Vera said.
Judge David Reed then instructed the defendants to come closer.
On the night of Feb. 6, Deputy Vera stopped a Ford truck on Highway 16 after noting the vehicle’s expired registration. Martin was driving the truck with Scheurman in the passenger’s seat.
While conducting a search on the truck, Deputy Vera found one chainsaw in the backseat and one in the bed of the truck. He also discovered a guitar, guitar case and trash within the vehicle.
After running the serial number of the chainsaws, dispatch informed Vera that they were stolen from Imperial County. Martin, however, told him that one of the chainsaws is his mother’s and the other belongs to Scheurman, who placed it in the truck after Martin picked him up from Walmart.
According to his statement, Scheurman indicated that it was Martin who gave him the chainsaw for helping him load a motorcycle onto his truck. Later in the night, Scheurman’s girlfriend pulled up to the traffic stop and said that Scheurman did not have the chainsaw with him beforehand.
Kian proceeded to share images of the two chainsaws on his screen, and Vera said he recognized them. Deputy Vera said he spoke with the owner of the chainsaws, who noticed that they were stolen from his truck.
After Deputy Vera was dismissed, Kian called forth the next witness, Deputy Kenneth Pierce, also a peace officer in Yolo County.
Deputy Pierce said he also spoke with the owner, a local arborist, about his stolen chainsaws. One was a Stihl 661 chainsaw, valued at $1600, and the other was a Stihl 193 valued at $550. The owner said he was able to identify the chainsaws as his own because his company sticker, Evergreen Arborists, was placed on one of them.
Judge Reed found that there is sufficient evidence, circumstantial and direct, to form a strong suspicion that both defendants committed grand theft and received stolen property. The motion to reduce the felony count to a misdemeanor, as proposed by Defense Attorney Rodney Beede, was denied.
An arraignment on the information has been scheduled for July 15 at 9:00 am.
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