By Nicole Gonzales
WOODLAND – Defendant Daniel Martin—who allegedly confessed burglary to law enforcement—had his preliminary hearing Monday here in Yolo County Superior Court and then was told he will stand trial for the alleged crime, among others.
Martin was initially arrested in September of 2019 for grand theft, burglary, and possessing drug paraphernalia. He had allegedly stolen more than $8,000 worth of equipment from a construction site where he was formerly employed.
Deputy Erin Forster, of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, recalls she was patrolling a rural area of Yolo County when she was dispatched to an alleged burglary at a construction site. When she arrived at the scene, Forster spoke with the foreman and site supervisor.
The foreman reportedly told Forster he had witnessed a white male near the Conex box the night before. The man left the scene in a black Dodge pick-up truck before the foreman could approach him.
Deputy Forster described the Conex box as “a large metal shipping container used [on the] construction site to store equipment or products needed to complete the project.”
The box was kept locked when not in use by employees.
The foreman told Forster when he arrived at the site the next morning, he recalled seeing the same man from the night before. He identified the man as Daniel Martin, a former employee of the construction company.
He then called authorities as soon as he discovered copper fittings and other plumbing supplies were missing from the Conex box. The supplies were valued at about $8,000.
Deputy District Attorney Intern Matt Lanthier then asked the deputy, “What did [the foreman] tell you about Daniel Martin?”
The deputy said that “he had previously been an employee of Weber Construction company…he had been let go from his position at that job and was now working for a family’s trucking company.”
She correctly identified the defendant as Daniel Martin.
“The record will reflect that the witness has identified Mr. Martin,” stated Judge Paul Richardson.
Deputy Forster, who identified Martin over Zoom, contacted the defendant. He said he had been fired from his position with Weber Construction the day before and came to the site to take his dump truck home. He told the officers he was at Cache Creek Casino with a friend during the time of the alleged burglary.
Unable to corroborate his story, the deputies arrested Martin and brought him in for further questioning. When taken into the jail, Martin was found with a methamphetamine pipe in his pant pocket.
Martin told Deputy Forster he had asked the construction company for his job back and was declined. He then revealed he had gone to the Conex box and taken the items in question and later sold them to a third party. Martin told the deputy he was able to access the Conex box because he still had a key.
During cross-examination, Deputy Public Defender Erin Dacayanan questioned the deputy on how accurate the site supervisor’s estimates were, given that he had no direct source for the guess.
The defense also emphasized how the key Martin allegedly used to open the Conex box was never found by officers.
District Attorney Intern Matt Lanthier then asked the deputy: “Did Mr. Martin subsequently admit to stealing items from the Conex box?”
Deputy responded yes, and adding that he admitted selling them.
Judge Richardson found Martin needed to stand trial. An arraignment was set for Thursday, and a trial date will be scheduled.
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