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Arrest Made at Point Reyes National Seashore

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Date: April 15, 2009
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135

A recent rash of auto burglaries at Point Reyes National Seashore has come to an end.

A Petaluma man is facing burglary and weapons charges after National Park Rangers arrested him in the Point Reyes National Seashore and found a homemade cannon in his truck. William Guy Curtis was arrested in connection with a National Park Service investigation into recent auto burglaries at North Beach, near the Point Reyes Lighthouse, said Chief Ranger Colin Smith. On Saturday, rangers parked a car in the area and detained Curtis after he burglarized it.

Inside Curtis' vehicle, National Park Rangers found property they suspect was stolen in the prior burglaries at the Seashore. They also found a makeshift cannon constructed of a 12-inch-long pipe, a battery, a model-rocket ignition device and a lead ball. The cannon was attached to a piece of 6" by 6" wood and was propped up at the end of the barrel.

The park service has no evidence he was firing the gun at property or sensitive wildlife. "We are very concerned even if the individual wasn't shooting directly at wildlife that the sound this weapon makes would be enough to alter the behavior of the federally-threatened western snowy plover, a species of bird that is nesting this time of year on that beach," said John Dell'Osso, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Education.

Based on the items found in Curtis' truck, authorities obtained a search warrant for his residence in Petaluma, and found additional property suspected to be stolen. Smith said the property—which included cell phones, credit cards and other personal information—links the Mr. Curtis to at least three auto burglaries within the National Seashore.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

Bubblegum coral. Image courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

On the Cordell Bank, just 32 kilometers (20 miles) to the west of Point Reyes, there are deep-water corals that are 10 to 15 meters (33 to 50 feet) high and estimated to be over 1500 years old. More...