Monday , May 27 2024

Neighbors Hold Suspect at Gunpoint Found Hiding Under Home

A North Fork homeowner found a wanted man hiding under his home Thursday, and he and his neighbors held the man at gunpoint until Madera County Sheriff’s deputies arrived. 

"When I told her (the 911 dispatcher) that we had their suspect at gunpoint, she repeated it to me–‘You have someone at gunpoint under your house?’" said homeowner Richard Keg.

It was a 911 call Keg never thought he’d make. But he was in for a surprise when he and his neighbors found 26-year-old Christopher Baker, of Ahwahnee, hiding on his property.

Keg said a sergeant knocked on his door Thursday afternoon and asked if he had seen anyone driving a black S-10 Chevy pickup.

"And he (the sergeant) asked if I had seen anyone suspicious walking around, and I said no," Keg said.

He said while deputies were out combing the area, he grabbed his gun and called his neighbors to warn them to be on the lookout.

"So me and my neighbor Dave start going through the property line and checking all the places where somebody could be hiding," Keg said.

After a while of searching, Keg said he and his neighbor returned to his home, and they found Christopher Baker hiding in the crawl space under Keg’s house.

"This Christopher guy was laying on that cushion fast asleep," Keg said pointing to the crawl space.

While a neighbor held Keg’s 12-gauge shotgun pointed at the man who was knocked out cold, Keg ran inside to call 911 and to call another neighbor.    

"He’s an old Vietnam vet, and he got right to it with yelling at the guy, and waking him up, and telling him to get his hands up," Keg said. "And that’s where he (Baker) came out, and we had him up against the wall here."

Within two minutes, deputies arrived, ordered Baker to the ground, and arrested him–this time, thanks to a group of neighbors banding together.

"I thought someone would be stupid to try to hide with the amount of no trespassing signs and how everybody knows me and knows our neighbors," Keg said.

Deputies had been searching for Baker before identifying him after receiving calls for suspicious behavior at the Bass Fork Minit Mart down the street from where Baker was found, according to a press release from Lt. Bill Ward with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.

They also received another call two miles away from the store of two men fighting in the roadway near Road 221 and 223, where a man ran away leaving his pickup truck in the road.

When a deputy checked the pickup truck, they found that it had been reported stolen.

A man arrived and told the deputy he was the one who called 911 to report the suspicious person. While in the store, he said the man stole his keys from inside his vehicle. The man told the deputy he and his friend drove around looking for the man, found him at a stop sign, and confronted him. After grabbing his keys from the pickup and exchanging punches, the suspect ran away, according to the press release.

Baker reportedly told deputies that he was high on meth and had stolen the car keys at the store. They asked him if he knew the truck he was driving was stolen, and he reportedly told deputies that he knew because he had stolen it two days before from Table Mountain Casino, according to the press release.

Baker also allegedly admitted to stealing gas from Miller’s Landing to fuel the pickup, according to the press release.

Baker was booked at the Madera County Department of Corrections for vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and petty theft.

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