Oregon man arrested after stealing county-owned backhoe in Yreka, crashing through barricade

YREKA, Calif., — Authorities say an Oregon man was arrested after a wild incident involving a stolen county-owned CAT backhoe, which he commandeered from the Siskiyou County Service Yard on Sharps Road in Yreka Thursday afternoon, Jan. 13.

The alleged suspect was eventually dragged from the stolen piece of construction equipment by a witness and Yreka police officer, after ramming his way through a pickup truck that the witness had attempted to use as a barricade to keep the man from leaving the County Yard with the stolen backhoe.

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Siskiyou County Sheriff’s deputies and Yreka Police officers were dispatched to the scene around 1:51 p.m. after receiving reports of a man who was in the process of stealing a county-owned CAT backhoe, according to Siskiyou County Sheriff’s officials.

While responding to the scene, officials learned the suspect, since identified as 32-year-old Benjamin Davis, had gotten into a backhoe and was attempting to drive the heavy piece of equipment from the County Yard when a county worker spotted the theft occurring.

Trying to stop Davis from leaving the County Yard with the backhoe, the employee jumped into a county-owned pickup and positioned it in front of the piece of machinery. However, the pickup was no match for the much larger backhoe, and Davis plowed through the truck, leaving it damaged and unsafe to continue operating.

A county-owned pickup truck was damaged after a man stealing a backhoe from the Siskiyou County Service Yard in Yreka used the piece of stolen heavy equipment to ram his way out of the county yard yesterday afternoon. Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office photo

After crashing his way past the pickup truck, the suspect continued driving northbound toward the Rain Rock Casino, according to officials.

Undeterred and uninjured in the violent collision, the county worker exited the damaged pickup and raced on foot after the slowly fleeing piece of equipment and quickly caught up with the backhoe as it crossed the road and entered a dirt field.

“The same county worker caught up to the backhoe again and tried to gain control of it by opening the door and attempting to pull Davis out,” SCSO explained; adding, “Davis fought back but was pulled out by a Yreka Police Department Officer, who arrived on scene seconds before.”

With the county worker’s help, the officer was able to take Davis into custody before any further damage could occur, according to officials; who added, “Thankfully, no one was hurt in this incident.”

Video filmed near the chaotic scene of the apprehension that was captured by Seth Fortna-Hanson and shared to Facebook’s Siskiyou County Grapevine (Which can be viewed below), showed another person moving into position in a front loader big enough to stop the stolen backhoe, just as the officer and county employee managed to drag the suspect from the backhoe’s cab. It was not immediately clear if that person was also a county worker or from one of the other nearby businesses who responded after hearing the commotion.

Once safely detained, Davis identified himself as “Ben-the-Almighty” and told investigating officials that he owned the county yard and backhoe. Asked why he had taken the piece of heavy machinery, the Almighty One said he was taking the backhoe to the highway “to move rocks”.

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Davis was turned over to deputies, who arrested him and transported him to the Siskiyou County Jail where he was booked on suspicion of vehicle theft, carjacking, and assault with a deadly weapon.

Online jail records indicate Davis remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail or bond.



Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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