Police arrest Williams man suspected in construction yard thefts

 

A Williams man wanted for stealing more than $300,000 in property from various locations in cities across the north state was arrested by the Williams Police Department last Wednesday – thanks, in part, to an expired vehicle registration.

According to Williams Police Sgt. Daniel Mata, an officer was in the area of James Thomas Vaughn’s home on the 900 block of Larch Drive in Williams when they observed a vehicle leave the residence.

“We believed he was in the home, and an officer was in the area and actually saw the vehicle (Vaughn) had been driving leave the home, and had probable cause to stop him,” Mata said.

The officer initiated a traffic stop for an expired registration sticker, and discovered that Vaughn, 50, was indeed the driver of the vehicle. 

“The officer conducted the traffic stop at State Route 20 and Marguerite Street,” Mata said. “(Vaughn) had a warrant for his arrest for the recent stolen property case.” 

The officer arrested Vaughn on the warrant at around 1 AM, and conducted an inventory search on Vaughn’s vehicle prior to having it towed. In the course of the search, the officer discovered drugs and drug paraphernalia – including a pipe and what officers suspected to be methamphetamine, Mata said, which were sent to a lab in Sacramento for testing.

Vaughn was booked into the Colusa County Jail on suspicion of possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and receiving stolen property. His bail was set at $35,000, which he later posted, Mata said. 

Officers have been trying to track down Vaughn since an employee of a Fresno-based construction company used a concealed GPS tracker to locate a stolen trailer in Williams, and ultimately helped authorities discover more than $300,000 in stolen property at Vaughn’s Williams residence on March 2. The trailer was stolen out of a PG&E substation in the Yuba City Area overnight. Along with the tools inside it, the trailer was valued in excess of $100,000, the department said at the time. 

After locating the trailer, the Williams Police Department and various Colusa County law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at the residence, where Vaughn was known to live, and found an additional $200,000 in stolen property including two enclosed trailers, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a tow-behind generator, and a large amount of construction tools and supplies. Investigators also found evidence and property from thefts at the Love’s Travel Stop and Dollar General construction sites in Williams, the department said at the time. 

Vaughn is set to be arraigned at the Colusa County Superior Court on May 8, at 12:30 PM. ■

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net