Late-night stakeout leads to arrest after WVHS repeatedly targeted

COTTONWOOD — An Anderson man on probation for possession of dangerous weapons and possession of a stolen vehicle was arrested last week after he was caught in the act of breaking into vehicles to siphon gas and breaking into classrooms and other buildings at West Valley High School in the 3000 block of Happy Valley Rd. in Cottonwood.

Following investigative leads and information developed during their burglary investigation, deputies set up a late-night, night vision-equipped stakeout, which ultimately led them to catching the alleged suspect in the act of breaking into the school’s campus and siphoning fuel from vehicles.

The suspect, later identified as Corey Ryan Walter, 26, of Anderson, later admitted to investigating deputies that he was responsible for numerous recent break-ins and thefts of student and school-owned musical instruments as well as fuel and other school district and student owned property. Some of the musical instruments and other stolen property was recovered from Walter’s vehicle during his arrest.

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Shasta County sheriff’s deputies began investigating a series of break-ins and burglaries at the school last week after West Valley High School staff contacted deputies to report one or more subjects breaking onto the campus at night, Shasta County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scoma later reported.

According to the school, the alleged suspect had been cutting locks on gates, siphoning gasoline from school vehicles, and breaking into buildings on the campus to steal various school and student-owned property.

Staff members provided video surveillance of one of the incidents, which showed a gold-colored car parking on the campus in the early morning hours, before committing the various reported crimes.

The initial investigating deputy passed along the information to the oncoming shift and deputies quickly came up with a plan to apprehend and identify the subject(s) responsible for the thefts, vandalism, and burglaries occurring at the high school. 

Corey Walter, of Anderson, was arrested after deputies conducting a late-night, night vision-equipped stakeout caught him in the act of breaking into West Valley High School in Cottonwood. SCSO photos

Last Thursday evening, “the oncoming deputies formulated a plan to insert a deputy equipped with a night vision optic onto the campus clandestinely to conduct surveillance of the area,” Scoma explained. “Other deputies waited in the immediate area in their vehicles to contact any subjects observed on the campus after hours.”

“At approximately 11:47 p.m., the deputy on surveillance observed a gold-colored coupe matching the description provided by high school staff drive into the parking area on the high school campus,” Scoma continued. “The driver of the vehicle backed the vehicle into an area near a building where it was not easily seen from Happy Valley Road … and then turned off the lights and sat in the vehicle for some time before exiting.”

The deputy on surveillance with the night-vision optics relayed to surrounding deputies that the subject, later identified as Walter, was removing items from the trunk of his vehicle. One of the items he removed appeared to be a gas container. According to Scoma, the man did not appear to be school staff or have a legitimate reason to be on campus at that time of night.

Based on their observations, along with what they knew about the earlier incidents, deputies waiting in the area converged on the campus, quickly detaining Walter, who was the sole-occupant from the vehicle.

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After detaining Walter, deputies soon learned he was on felony probation and subject to search terms.

“A probation search was conducted on the vehicle Walter was observed operating which resulted in the discovery of suspected methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, musical instruments, and tools commonly possessed for breaking into buildings or cutting locks,” described Scoma. “Outside of Walter’s vehicle, an empty, five gallon gas can was staged with a siphoning hose resting on top of it.”

During a subsequent interview, Walter “admitted to burglarizing the buildings on the school campus, taking the musical instruments from the inside of one of the buildings, and siphoning fuel from the school district’s vehicles,” the Sgt. continued. “Walter also admitted to returning to the school to siphon more fuel from the school district’s vehicles.”

Based on their investigation, deputies arrested Walter and he was later booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts of violation of probation.

Anyone with information regarding this ongoing investigation is encouraged to contact Shasta County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 245-6025. Callers can refer to incident file number 19S025721 and can remain anonymous.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of 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 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 28 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 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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