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Vigilantes Capture Suspect Who Ran Over Man, Beat Him, Tie Him Up At Crime Scene

Deputies found Thomas Bechtold beaten and tied to a telephone pole in the intersection where he ran over James Leslie.

Valley Springs, CA – Vigilantes returned the suspect in a hit-and-run crash to the scene of his crime, and left him beaten and tied to a telephone pole.

Deputies responded to the intersection of Nall Street and Westhill Road in Valley Springs at about 4:30 p.m. on April 3 for a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle, according to a post on the official Facebook page of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.

Upon arrival, deputies learned that 29-year-old Thomas Bechtold was arguing with 47-year-old James Leslie when Bechtold got into his vehicle and ran Leslie over.

The sheriff’s department said Leslie was knocked unconscious and Bechtold fled the scene.

Deputies were searching for Bechtold when they received a call at about 7:30 p.m. notifying authorities that the suspect had been returned to scene of his crime, according to the Calaveras Enterprise.

“When deputies arrived, they found Bechtold, battered with his hands tied behind his back and tethered to a telephone pole,” the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.

Deputies arrested Bechtold and booked him into the Calaveras County Jail, the Calaveras Enterprise reported.

The sheriff’s department said Bechtold has been charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious injury, and felony hit and run.

He was being held on $2.19 million bail, according to the Calaveras Enterprise.

Court records showed that Bechtold was convicted of a domestic violence incident in 2018 and sentenced to a year in the county jail.

He was on probation when he was arrested for attacking Leslie with his vehicle, the Calaveras Enterprise reported.

The sheriff’s department said the investigation was ongoing and asked that anyone with information contact law enforcement.

Sandy Malone - April Tue, 2020


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