Firearm Forums - Arms Locker banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

· Registered
1,815 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Man suspected in dozens of thefts in four states kills self ...

Wednesday July 28, 2004

LONE PINE, Calif. (AP) A man believed to be the Ballarat Bandit, a furtive thief who haunted the California desert and stole cars, guns, food and off-road vehicles in at least three states, shot himself to death as federal rangers closed in on him, authorities said Wednesday.

The man, whose identity remained a mystery, shot himself once in the head with a .22-caliber rifle on Sunday afternoon as Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service rangers tried to surround him in a ravine in the northern Mojave Desert about 35 miles north of Baker, said Detective Jeff Hollowell of the Inyo County Sheriff's Department.

Two rifles and "bags and bags'' of canned goods and other food were seized, although the man himself appeared to be dehydrated and malnourished, Hollowell said.

The man, clean-cut and in his mid-to-late 40s with brown hair and "flaming blue eyes,'' fit the description of a person who has been sought since at least last August for dozens of thefts in California and later in Nevada. He also apparently stole a truck in Utah and may have spent time in eastern Oregon, Hollowell said.

He was dubbed the Ballarat Bandit because the places he hit included the desert ghost town of Ballarat.

He would seek a vantage point overlooking remote homes or cabins, wait until campers arrived and unloaded, then pilfer their cabins while they were gone.

"It's kind of ironic, but he broke into the cabin that used to belong to Charles Manson and his crew,'' Hollowell said of the band of mass murderers who killed actress Sharon Tate and others in 1969.

At least 30 thefts were reported.

"He was a one-man crime spree,'' Hollowell said.

The detective said the man may have been an avid hunter or had paramilitary training because he knew how to camouflage himself and how to hide by traveling in ravines.

"He was within 30 yards of the road half the time that we were around, probably, and you'd never see him,'' Hollowell said.

The man left caches of food and weapons in draws and washes, the detective said. On at least one occasion, campers met him and exchanged a few words with him before he rode off on a four-wheeled motorcycle. They later determined that the possessions piled on the cycle were stolen from their cabins.

Hollowell said he suspects the man may have committed a serious crime because of the great length of time he spent hiding in remote areas and because he killed himself as authorities closed in.

"You don't shoot yourself for stealing cars,'' Hollowell said.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.