This is a press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
On 05-15-2021 at about 12:38 A.M, a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy was on patrol in the area of Highway 101 near Willits, California.
The Deputy noticed a vehicle traveling in front of him had defective lighting. The Deputy conducted an traffic stop on the vehicle on Highway 101 near the North Willits Bypass on-ramp.
The Deputy contacted the driver, a 17 year-old female juvenile, who advised she did not have a valid license or learner’s permit.
The Deputy also contacted the male passenger, who was obviously intoxicated and appeared to be sleeping. The male was positively identified as being Thomas Christie Junior.
The Deputy observed numerous open containers of alcoholic beverage containers, open marijuana containers and marijuana smoking paraphernalia within arms reach of both individuals. A search for further evidence of unlawful possession and use of intoxicating substances was conducted.
During the search, a short-barreled, .223 caliber assault rifle was located in the vehicle. The Deputy was unable to locate a serial number on the assault rifle. The assault rifle was determined to have a barrel length shorter than the legally required length and did not have any other safety implements required by California law.
Based on the totality of the investigation, Christie was arrested for possession of an unregistered assault rifle (30605(a) PC) and possession of a short-barreled rifle (33215 PC).
Christie was handcuffed and seated in the rear seat of the Deputy’s patrol vehicle. While the Deputy was arranging for the juvenile’s pick up by her legal guardian, the Deputy heard Christie kicking the doors of the patrol vehicle.
The Deputy opened the patrol vehicle door and saw that Christie and severely damaged the interior door panels of both rear passenger doors. The cost to repair the damaged door panels was estimated to be in excess of $400.00. Therefore the charge of felony vandalism (594(b)(1) PC) was added to his list of offenses.
The juvenile was released to the care of Mendocino County Child Protective Services, to facilitate her return to her family.
Christie was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked, to be released after the jail booking process on zero bail pursuant to COVID-19 bail schedule set forth by the State of California Judicial Council.