Thieves hit convention center |

Thieves hit convention center

Kim Lamb / Lahontan Valley News/ Fallon Detectives Jerry Edwards, left, and John Frandsen catalog evidence recovered from a theft at the Fallon Convention Center Friday night or Saturday morning.

FALLON – Two Fallon residents were arrested Saturday on suspicion of stealing thousands of dollars in fishing equipment and sporting goods from the Fallon Convention Center.

Travis Robert Hettinger and Teri Gail Vercellotti are also suspected of committing an identical crime last February during the Hendrix Outdoors show. The company was formerly known as Hendrix Bait & Tackle.

Wayne Hendrix discovered the burglary Saturday morning when he arrived at the convention center, which he rents for the annual show.

Police said when a search warrant was served at the couple’s Silver State Avenue home after the latest alleged theft, they found most of the items taken last year during the trade show.

After last year’s crime, in which more than $1,500 in merchandise was taken, Hendrix installed video surveillance equipment in a main showroom area. The suspects were allegedly caught on tape committing the crime, a court document states.

Fallon police officer Dale Carr recognized Vercellotti, also known as Terri Peck, on the tape along with a man, said Fallon Police Chief Russ Brooks.

“Mr. Hendrix left the video camera there and was able to get images of the suspects crawling around on all fours,” Brooks said.

Police obtained a search warrant for 3250 Silver State Ave. Jail booking records show both suspects live at the address. Detectives and other employees at the Fallon Police Department, sheriff’s office deputies and members of the North Central Narcotics Task Force spent seven hours at the property Saturday conducting the search and cataloging merchandise.

“We ended up taking out four truckloads of stuff,” the chief said. “Large ice chests were just loaded with items.”

He said suspected stolen property was found in the house, in sheds and other outbuildings.

Someone had placed a small rock in a latch on the double doors on the north side of the convention center. The rock made the door appear to be locked, but would open if pushed hard, Brooks said. Police are still investigating how the rock got into the locking mechanism.

“We don’t know who did it. The place was open during the day,” said Brooks.

On Monday, Fallon police spent all day conducting a tedious inventory of the items seized. Numerous tackle boxes filled with tackle, walkie-talkies, more than two dozen flashlights, binoculars, thousands of fishing lures, sleeping bags, tents, Coleman stoves, waders, artwork, expensive reels, canvas bags, blow up boats, numerous fishing poles and even a pork loin, butter and coffee packages taken from a refrigerator were confiscated.

Brooks said both suspects confessed to the crime. He said if the camera system had not been installed, the case probably would have gone unsolved.

“They wore gloves and there would have been no fingerprints, just like last time,” he said.

Hettinger, 43, is charged with burglary, grand larceny, possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine and marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail Saturday afternoon where bail was set at $15,264.

Vercellotti, 42, faces charges of grand larceny, possession of stolen property, methamphetamine offenses, marijuana offenses, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and a warrant charging burglary and grand larceny. Her bail was set at $26,764.

Brooks said numerous weapons were also taken from the residence for safe-keeping.

Hendrix declined to talk about the crime, except to praise police for their work.

“We can’t thank the police department enough,” he said.

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