The U.S. Forest Service is asking the public's help in catching thieves who have caused more than $35,000 worth of damage to Plumas National Forest campgrounds at Lake Davis and Frenchman by removing copper pipes and brass fixtures.
"Thankfully, the campgrounds were open before Memorial Day because repairs were done so quickly by our concessionaires, Thousand Trails," Beckwourth District Ranger Deb Bumpus, said in a written statement.
But the money diverted to repairs means other needed work will not be accomplished this year, Bumpus said. Plans that have been postponed for Lake Davis include a fence along Honker Cove Road and the environmental analysis for a disc golf course, according to a news release. The Forest Service also won't be able to purchase picnic tables or put gravel on the road at Frenchman.
Forest Service law enforcement officers are investigating the incidents. Citations, which include damaging and removing government property, carry the standard criminal penalty of fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail for each charge, authorities said. The Forest Service also can pursue civil penalties to recover the cost of repairing the facilities.
Other recreation sites in nearby national forests also have experienced thefts in recent months, officials said.
Anyone with information regarding the thefts is asked to call Troy Kimberling or Lisa Sedlacek at (530) 836-2575. Tips also may be submitted anonymously by using WeTIP at (800) 782-7463.