BURNEY: Two Burney men arrested for copper wire theft, possession of drugs, other felonies

BURNEY — Two Burney men were arrested yesterday morning, Tuesday, May 29, and later charged with multiple felonies after they were found in possession of thousands of dollars of copper cable that officials allege was stolen from PG&E. A PG&E contractor later verified the copper wiring had been stolen from a Burney-area work site.

During their investigation deputies also located methamphetamine, heroin, and “tools commonly used for committing burglaries,” a sheriff official explained in a social media release after the men’s arrest.


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After an investigation, deputies arrested Michael Joseph Ybarra, 28, and Tyson Noah Courtney, 35. They were booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of grand theft, possession of stolen property, appropriation of lost property, possession of burglary tools, and criminal conspiracy. Additionally, Ybarra was charged with possession of methamphetamine and heroin.

A Shasta County inmate record search indicated both men had already been released from custody, pending their arraignments.

The theft investigation began shortly after 7 a.m., when a deputy assigned to the Burney Station was flagged down by a Burney resident in the area of Mountain View Road and Carberry, east of Burney Junior and Senior High School.

The citizen reported seeing “a small black car (that) had a large black cable dragging behind the vehicle,” according to officials. The witness advised the vehicle was last seen heading southbound from the area on Mountain View Road. Based on the suspicious nature of the report, the deputy headed in the vehicle’s last known direction and began searching for the car.

“As the deputy reached the water towers on Mountain View Road just east of town, he located a black Pontiac G6 which matched the description of the earlier reported vehicle,” said officials.

The deputy saw the Pontiac was occupied by two men and that the car was dragging “approximately 165 foot length of cable,” which was “at least an inch and a half in diameter,” wrote the official. Deputies conducted an investigatory traffic stop and discovered the cable was attached near the trunk lid of the car via a metal carabineer.

“Both Courtney and Ybarra stated they were dragging the cable in (an) attempt to strip the protective sheathing due to the sheathing being too hard to strip by hand,” the official explained. The men reportedly told deputies they found the cable “lying on the side of the road.”

As the investigation was continuing, officials received consent to search the Pontiac and located a spool of cable in the trunk, which was clearly identified as PG&E property. Deputies also located methamphetamine, heroin, and tools commonly used for committing burglaries in the vehicle.

Knowing there was a large PG&E project occurring in the area, the two deputies and a sergeant investigating the incident contacted PG&E officials.

A PG&E contractor who responded to the scene of the traffic stop to determine if the copper cable was in fact PG&E property positively identified the copper cable and spool of cable as PG&E property and estimated the value of the copper wire to be “in the thousands of dollars.”

After the arrests, sheriff’s officials congratulated the investigating deputies and thanked the citizen who alerted them to the suspicious activity that led to the men’s arrest and wrote on social media, “Nice work Deputies Wright and Dorn and Sgt. St. Clair and a big thank you to the alert citizen who summoned law enforcement.”


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Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 – soon to be 15 – grandchildren.