Douglas County crime increases |

Douglas County crime increases

Crime is on the rise in Douglas County.

Statistics for the first half of 2002 show an alarming increase in most categories compared to the same time in 2001.

Car thefts more than doubled. The numbers reveal that this category saw the biggest increase. There were 40 cases reported to the department last year compared to 19 in 2001. This represents an increase of 16 percent.

Chief Deputy Bob Rudnick of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department attributed the jump in car thefts to juvenile crime in Carson Valley. About 10 cars were taken during one spree, Rudnick said.

Crime for Douglas County was not broken down to differentiate between the valley and the lake.

Rudnick did attribute partial numbers for thefts, which rose from 288 cases in the first half of 2001 to 329 cases in the first half of 2002, to gamblers leaving valuables out in the open. Numerous cases of women leaving purses by their side while playing slot machines, then finding their bag missing could contribute to the hundreds of thefts, Rudnick said.

Another contributing factor to the theft category is people taking snowboards or skis that sit on top of cars. Rudnick advised visitors to Lake Tahoe to put their snow sliders out of sight.

Robberies, where somebody takes something by threat or force from somebody else, remained steady. Burglary, the unlawful entrance of a building or vehicle to steal something, increased by 16 cases from the 93 incidents in 2001.

Domestic battery fell slightly. Rudnick believed the improvement of reporting, social services and information available has kept that figure steady.

The one murder in the first part of 2002 is being contested by the person accused of the crime. Christopher Fiegehen, 23, is charged in the early morning assault on Alan and Lorelle Chorkey Feb. 10, 2002. Alan Chorkey died from fatal stab wounds to his carotid artery and jugular vein and Lorelle Chorkey was critically injured by two bullets, one at the back of her head and one in her chest. Lorelle Chorkey reportedly named Fiegehen as her attacker as she entered surgery.

Overall, the increase in population in Douglas County, especially in the valley, contributed to the crime increases.

“Douglas County has experienced a lot of growth,” Rudnick said. “We continue to grow more at the valley than the lake. Any time you have growth, hopefully you won’t have a substantial increase in crime, but you anticipate an increase in some of these areas.”

— Contact William Ferchland at

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