Danger around Butte Valley -The Bandito

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Posted by Zombie on February 08, 2004 at 22:26:18:

Yesterday, Saturday 2-7, the BLM rangers almost caught the Ballarat Bandito. They were able to track him to his hideout in Butte Valley and flush him out. The rangers were on the losing end of a foot chase because they can’t run too fast while wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying guns, radios, and assorted heavy paraphernalia – plus, hey, the bandito has been running around in the back country living off the land and ripping people off for at least 6 months (he’s gotta be in good shape). After an hour or so delay, the Park Service and the BLM Rangers brought in a body heat sensing aircraft and a helicopter, eventually even a K-9 dog and handler. But possibly by then, the bandito was gone or in good hiding. It used to be that places like Butte Valley were safe and secure, but along with Donna’s quad (Donna is the owner/manager of the Ballarat store – who has been robbed several times by this guy), the rangers recovered a shotgun and a high-powered hunting rifle from the bandito’s hide-out. He also had (and left behind) his camp gear, jackets, sleeping bag, etc. (apparently all items he had pilfered from cabins and campers in the area since August). I would caution any campers in the south Panamint Mountain Area to be very cautious (he has ranged from at least Pleasant Canyon to Butte Valley). This guy is now possibly desperate and capable of harm as evidenced by what they found in his camp. I’d say just to be very observant when you are in the area – and if you are approached by a slim, 30ish, clean-shaven, shoulder hair length person, to be very wary – and also to not leave your camping gear, food, fuel, or anything like that unattended (and don’t leave anything behind). Last seen, he was wearing camouflage pants and jacket – and running South toward Willow Spring and Anvil Canyon. We were able to tell Donna that her Quad and other items had been recovered, but she is still distressed that this person is still on the loose and creating problems in the area. The Rangers plan to try to pull prints from the guns and quad that they recovered – if the bandito has a criminal past they will have a chance of knowing who he is.

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