By Carlos Padilla
As reported in last week’s edition of The Herald, law enforcement officials –as well as a number of local residents– have been acutely aware of an increase recently in residential and vehicle burglaries taking place throughout the city. In response to this increased wave of property crimes, law enforcement officials have adopted a strategy to reduce the rate of these burglaries by initiating contact with pedestrians in areas most impacted by these burglaries.
This method led to the arrest over the weekend of 38-year-old Earl W. Tidd, a resident of the 1500-block of Corzine St., in Truth or Consequences. Tidd, however, was not charged with a property crime, but instead with a drug offense. Law enforcement officials know all too well that narcotic offenses and property crime often go hand in hand.
Late Friday evening, Dec. 5, Truth or Consequences Police Detective George Lee teamed up with Sierra County Sheriff’s Investigator Joshua Baker to patrol the city’s streets in an unmarked sheriff’s department vehicle.
At approximately 12:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 6, the officials were traveling east along the 400-block of Riverside Drive when they saw a man dressed in dark clothing and a dark hat with a black backpack, standing on the north side of the street. Lee and Baker stopped to talk to the man – later identified as Mr. Tidd.
Detective Lee identified himself and told Mr. Tidd they were patrolling the area due to the recent rash of burglaries. Tidd responded that he was aware of the burglaries because he listens to a police scanner. Tidd told the officials that he had just left a friend’s house further east on Riverside Drive.
“Earl appeared very nervous,” Detective Lee notes in his criminal complaint filed in Sierra County Magistrate Court on Monday, Dec. 8. “He was fidgeting and not standing still.”
Tidd told the officials that he presently has a legal case pending in Magistrate Court regarding a possession case, and that he was on conditions of release.
When Detective Lee asked Mr. Tidd what he had in his backpack, Tidd responded, “Clothes.” After hesitating a moment, Tidd gave the detective permission to look through his backpack. Tidd began to open the bag, but the detective stopped him to ask if there were any weapons in the backpack. When he was told there was a pellet gun in the backpack, Detective Lee told Tidd he would open it.
Detective Lee discovered a large baggie containing several other smaller baggies, and handed the items to Investigator Baker. Mr. Tidd was handcuffed and placed in investigative detention until it was determined that the substance in the baggies were field tested for methamphetamine.
Later, while being interviewed at the police department, Mr. Tidd told Detective Lee after waiving his Miranda rights that the drugs belonged to him and that he is a methamphetamine addict, adding that the drugs found in the backpack were intended for his personal use.
Tidd was booked into custody and is facing a fourth-degree felony charge of possession of methamphetamine.