On May 2, 2010, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to a reported theft of mine equipment from a mineral mining operation in the Buckhorn Mountains, Castle Hot Springs area. The victim escorted deputies to the mine and provided a list of the stolen property. This particular mine is the open pit type and enclosed by both natural and man made hills and embankments. The only access point is normally gated and displays a no trespassing sign. The victim had not visited the mine during the last few weeks due to weather conditions resulting in washed out roads.
While driving to the property with the victim, deputies located an abandoned pick-up truck containing a bed full of stolen electrical boxes from the mine stripped of copper wire. Additional electrical boxes were scattered around the truck. The victim’s list of stolen property included a camper trailer, mechanics trailer containing numerous specialized tools, a metal boat and trailer, electrical junction boxes, electrical equipment, pumps, air compressors and a large amount of copper wiring. Additionally, the office/kitchen/sleeping quarter’s unit had been completely stripped of its contents. The loss to the victim was estimated at $290,000 dollars. The victim also believed someone may have been living at the mine site.
Deputies developed leads from reliable sources identifying two possible suspects. One of the suspects was 44-year-old Louis Gragg. Deputies conducted a records check which indicated Gragg resided in the 42000 block of Grand Avenue, Morristown. On May 5, 2010, deputies went to Gragg’s home and found the stolen camp trailer and mechanics trailer in his yard. Gragg was not home at the time.
Deputies returned to the home on May 12, 2010, and contacted Gragg at that time. Gragg admitted taking both trailers and much of the listed stolen property with help from his friend Shawn Eddington. Both turned many of the items into scrap/metal recycling yards for cash.
Deputies located Eddington, 44, at his home in the 32000 block of Bush Street, Whittmann, Arizona. Eddington admitted assisting Gragg with the removal of property from the mine including a boat and trailer. He also acknowledged living at the location for several days while assisting Gragg.
As a result of the investigation, both Gragg and Eddington were arrested on May 12, 2010, and booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center. Charges include Theft, Criminal Damage, 2nd and 3rd Degree Burglary, and Trafficking Stolen Property. Deputies are still attempting to locate items turned into recycling yards for cash but acknowledge it may be too late to recover the remaining property.
As of today, Eddington remains in-custody on a $40,000 bond with a next court of May 20, 2010. Gragg bonded out today pending court.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at (928) 771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov