Grass Valley, CA — Today, at approximately 4 pm, the Grass Valley Police Department apprehended William D. Whitner on Squirrel Creek road hauling by hand what appeared to be two large bookcases hastily strapped to a worn children’s wagon.
According to the police report, both bookcases were stolen from an area bookstore in the early morning hours of Wednesday. Mr. Whitner had broken into the store and toppled several bookcases spilling hundreds of books onto the floor. Rather than taking the books, or for that matter, the over $400 that was left in the unlocked cash register, Mr. Whitner took the bookcases.
“I don’t know why this is so tricky for everybody,” said Mr. Whitner speaking from the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Nevada City, “I just needed something to put my stuff in.”
Mr. Whitner has been homeless for over 15 years. Five by choice, he likes to say, and ten because he was, in his words, “having a hell of a time getting my act together.” He’s been in the greater Nevada County area for over 20 years and claims he held a shop job at the video specialty firm the Grass Valley Group before it ostensibly went belly up.
“I guess I could have got another job or something, but that wasn’t in the stars for me,” continued Mr. Whitner. “So I’ve been wandering around the county. I spent the last three years off of Idaho Maryland [Road], until they kicked me out. So I got a buddy to move all my stuff down Squirrel Creek back in June. I had a pretty good camp back there, but I needed some shelves.”
According to the owner of the popular book store in downtown Grass Valley, who preferred not to be named or press charges, Mr. Whitner made a mess, but he tried to stack the books before leaving.
“Of course, my heart sank when I came in,” said bookstore owner [name redacted], speaking of entering the establishment early Thursday morning. “We forgot to set the alarm when we closed on Wednesday. What are the odds of that? Anyhow, Mr. Whitner tried to organize all the books. He toppled the Travel and English Literature sections. He must have sat there for a good couple of hours after making a mess trying to clean up. It’s the darndest thing.”
As for Mr. Whitner, he’s sorry for all the trouble.
“I guess I wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry for the mess I made, and I’m sure glad that nice lady doesn’t want to press charges. Next time I’ll ask around for some old shelves.”