'Crime of the Century' in campaign | Sign stealer nabbed

In the labyrinthine halls of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, they’re calling it “the crime of the century.”


OK, so maybe it was in name only. 




The name is “Braun” and the case involved a curious case of a missing campaign yard sign supporting MLPD Reserve Officer Ingrid Braun for Mono County Sheriff.


Braun is locked into a (a-hem) brawny race for sheriff against the current office-holder, Sheriff Ralph Obenberger.


“I myself have been calling it the ‘crime of the century,’” said Police Chief Dan Watson, cracking wise at the town council candidates forum on Tuesday evening, April 15.


The caper unfolded on Saturday, April 12. The scene was the A-Frame Liquor store on Main Street.


While driving around town attending to campaign business, Ingrid and her husband, Mike Braun, also a reserve officer with the MLPD, noticed that her sign, which she had planted in front of A-Frame, wasn’t there anymore.


“My sign went missing,” she opined later, “and those signs aren’t cheap.”


Being the cop that she is, she began an investigation, wondering if she had offended A-Frame Liquor’s owner, Andy Holzer, or, at worse, if there was a rat at work.


Holzer said to her she was welcome to put her sign there, and had no idea what had happened. However, as it turned out, said Braun, A-Frame has an excellent surveillance camera trained on the front area of the store.


On replaying the video, it turned out that at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, a white Subaru SUV pulled in front of the store. A young man leaped from the driver’s seat, pulled the sign, threw it into the vehicle, and then drove away.


Using her connection at the police department, she ran a check on the license plate number, and discovered the vehicle was registered in Pasadena.


The name?


“Braun,” of course.


She called the owner and got the rest of the story.


The owner’s son had plucked the sign as a souvenir, in a once-in-a-lifetime chance at quasi-fame.


The Dad apologized to Braun on the phone and promised to send back the sign, valued at about $10, but Braun said she let it go.


“I did tell him, though, that after June 3, he can have all the signs he wants.”