‘Sheetrock’ revisits scene of crimes
Arrested here for one burglary in January 1984, David “Sheetrock” Stevens came back this spring to crack and dig his way into at least 18 businesses at South Shore.
Tuesday morning, police took Stevens on a tour of 29 stores that recently experienced a burglary or an attempted burglary.
The 41-year-old sat in an unmarked police car, handcuffed and in jail orange, too embarrassed to face any victim. In the car, he admitted to crimes at 18 locations, said South Lake Tahoe Police Detective Mike Dente.
Police got a break in their investigation when Dente transported Stevens to Barton Memorial Hospital for a blood sample. Blood was present at several of the crime scenes, including a burglary at Mandarin Garden Chinese Restaurant where a thief used a meat cleaver to open a register.
Dente said Stevens got emotional during the trip.
“He’s feeling pretty remorseful. He’s a transient alcoholic,” Dente said. “He realized what he did was wrong and this was his way of trying to do the right thing.”
In an interview with Dente, Stevens said he had been camping around South Lake Tahoe, taking showers at a stall at the Campground by the Lake. Police believe he started his crime spree at South Shore April 26.
His sojourn at the lake ended abruptly May 14 when he got caught breaking into Ernie’s Coffee Shop. He tripped the restaurant’s silent alarm at 12:22 a.m.
Stevens reportedly told Dente his crimes were random. He said he carried feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and didn’t care if he was caught or not.
Dente said Stevens was released from San Quentin State Prison in April or May 2000 where he spent at least a year for commercial burglary.
Stevens became a suspect in at least 12 church burglaries in San Francisco and Marin Counties after his release. In those break-ins, penny jars, postage stamps and other random items were stolen.
When police ran his fingerprints they discovered his real name. He first told them he was “Kevin Schwab,” and they found out he had an outstanding burglary warrant out of San Diego.
Two of the 29 break-ins at South Shore occurred at churches. Dente said Stevens didn’t admit to those crimes or the church burglaries in southern California.
“He did not want to comment on activities outside of our area,” he said. “He either doesn’t want to tell me or didn’t admit to churches.”
Stevens has been charged with three felonies for the burglary at Ernie’s. El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe said he could be sentenced to four years in prison for that crime.
“He’s charged with one count of burglary and one prior prison term, which adds a year. However … the investigation is continuing, I believe he will be linked to other burglaries. I believe he may also be linked to one burglary in Nevada, so that exposure could go up quite a bit from where it is now.”
Stevens is expected in court May 31 for a preliminary hearing. His bail is set at $50,000.
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.