Police catch escaped suspect weeks later | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Police catch escaped suspect weeks later

A 22-year-old South Lake Tahoe resident who escaped from authorities while in handcuffs was arrested in a Saturday traffic stop, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.

On Sept. 26, officers were conducting a shoulder-tap sting operation where minor decoys would ask adults to buy liquor. Two adults took the money the decoy gave them and ran, according to police Lt. Martin Hewlett.

Officers knew where the two men lived. Billy Johnson was one of the men at the residence and was arrested on a parole violation warrant, Hewlett said, adding Johnson was not one of the men who allegedly stole the money.

While handcuffed and sitting in a chair waiting to get picked up by a patrol car, Johnson ran, eluding officers in the chase, Hewlett said.

Weeks later officers learned Johnson was in a blue Volkswagen Beetle thought to be linked to a residential burglary reported on Oct. 26, Hewlett said. Two days later he was arrested when officers spotted the blue Beetle, which had Johnson as a passenger, Hewlett said.

Johnson was arrested on charges including evading police officers and parole violation.

In other news:

— Authorities continue to investigate what they’re calling a deliberately set fire that destroyed defense attorney Lori London’s house in late August.

Gareth Harris, fire investigator with Lake Valley Fire Protection District, said the arson case has not gone cold.

“As of right now we don’t have any firm leads, although we’re following up on a few,” he said.

London and her family were not home when a fire ripped through the two-story residence along Skyline Drive on Aug. 29. Authorities have ruled the cause as arson.

Harris said arson investigations are sometimes difficult because evidence doesn’t point to a particular individual.

“The evidence implicating an individual is tough to find. … The fingerprint on the matchbook sort of thing is burned up,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Secret Witness at (530) 541-6800.

— Professional snowboarder, dirt bike racer and athlete Shaun Lee Palmer was taken to El Dorado County Jail on suspicion of being drunk in public Sunday, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.

Lt. Martin Hewlett said Palmer was a passenger in a car driven by a female, Nicole Melissa Cerasoli, who was suspected of drunken driving, Hewlett said. Palmer told the officers that “he was going to jail” with the female, Hewlett said.

“So the officers took him to jail, too,” Hewlett said.

After a few hours, Palmer was released from jail and police dropped the arrest charge against the 37-year-old.

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