Charcoal thief caught entering Canada |

Charcoal thief caught entering Canada

Christina Proctor

While a judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney were trying to decide if Mark Craig knew he was supposed to be in court Wednesday, Craig was trying to enter Canada. And it was all over four bags of Kingsford Match Light charcoal.

Craig, 23, of Zephyr Cove was arrested Feb. 26 for allegedly stealing four 15-pound bags of charcoal from the Safeway Store in Round Hill five days earlier. He was scheduled to appear Wednesday on a felony charge of burglary in the Tahoe Township Justice Court.

While court was in session, Craig’s landlord called the court to report Craig had cleared out of his apartment. Judge Steven McMorris then ordered $10,000 bench warrant for Craig’s arrest.

Meanwhile, the man in question was being questioned by Canadian customs’ authorities. Sgt. Detective Tim Minister, of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, said Craig was stopped Wednesday morning in Vancouver, British Colombia.

“During an interview, it appears they discovered that he was due in court here today on felony burglary charges,” Minister said, adding he was unsure why Craig was stopped in the first place. “They informed him he was not welcome in Canada and turned him over to U.S. Customs.”

U.S. Customs officials placed Craig on a plane to Seattle and then contacted Douglas County investigators. Craig was eventually turned over to the Port of Seattle Police, who placed him under arrest for the Douglas County warrant. Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Alan Buttell said extradition procedures are pending.

Investigators said they weren’t sure why Craig was trying to enter Canada.

Witnesses at Safeway told investigators they saw a man pull up to the front doors of the store, enter the building, and exit about 30 seconds later carrying the charcoal. Craig was identified in a photo lineup, Minister said.

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