The case is one for the books — or for booking. I refer to the March 16 arrest of Nicholas Eugene Noochi, 32, of Paso Robles.
After a search of a storage locker on the day of his arrest and a second search of another locker Friday, it appears that Noochi has been busy helping himself to other people’s property and storing the booty in storage lockers in Templeton.
Although everyone’s innocent until proven guilty, and Noochi may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, it should be noted that he was in possession of a .357-caliber handgun when busted by Sheriff’s Department narcs.
The amount and variety of pelf that he (or somebody) stashed in those lockers represents a lot of real and potential misery for quite a few of our friends and neighbors.
In addition to the methamphetamine and heroin — along with prescription medications — there were power tools, a sawed-off shotgun, jewelry, cash, coins, guitars, motorcycle helmets — and did I mention tools? The storage lockers held enough tools to fully outfit a medium-sized Home Depot.
To date, some $100,000 in stolen goods has been recovered. And who knows if there are other fully loaded lockers waiting to be discovered?
It’s mind-boggling to think of all the people who have been ripped off and may never again feel inviolate and secure in their homes.
Noochi was booked into County Jail on suspicion of receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled substance while armed, carrying a loaded firearm, felon/addict in possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance.
His bail was originally set at such an absurdly low $20,000 that I thought that would be the last we ever saw of Noochi. Yet, as the investigation continues and the sheer volume of goods continues to grow, his bail has been upped to $200,000. But there’s one thing that can’t keep Noochi in jail if he makes bail: parole violation.
It seems that Noochi doesn’t necessarily have a get-out-of-jail-free card, but he does have what’s called a nonrevocable parole.
Confused? So was I until dropping a dime to the state parole office. I learned that the Legislature, in an effort to lessen prison overcrowding, as well as not have parolees continually recycle back to prison for minor infractions of their parole conditions, passed a law in late 2009 that allows unsupervised parole for low-risk offenders.
But wait, hasn’t Noochi been charged with being a FELON/addict in possession of a firearm?
A little digging found that he was convicted Dec. 2, 1997, of reckless driving with bodily injury. He was again convicted Nov. 26, 2003, for driving under the influence.
It remains to be seen how Noochi’s case plays out. Would a conviction mean three strikes and he’s out? We’ll see.
What’s a little more sadly definite is that there are a lot of friends and neighbors out there who have been burglarized and believe they’ve been violated to the point of feeling raped. And that is a personal prison they may suffer in for a very long time.
Bill Morem can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 781-7852.