Friday, January 22, 2021

Man gets 57 months; lied about COVID-19

Staff Writer | January 12, 2021 1:00 AM

EPHRATA — A Warden man who stole a vehicle and lied about testing positive for the coronavirus to be released from jail was sentenced last month to nearly five years in prison, according to court records.

Triston David Duplichan, 24, pleaded guilty Dec. 22 to possession of a stolen vehicle and was sentenced to 57 months in state prison. Since he pleaded guilty, prosecutors dismissed his charge of first-degree stolen property trafficking. His criminal offender score of seven, due to several prior convictions, helped the court determine his sentence length.

Prior to Duplichan’s arrest on March 20, sheriff’s deputies were in a weeks-long investigation into allegations that he burglarized homes in the area and trafficked stolen property, including a number of vehicles, according to the police report. Two victims told police they received an anonymous tip their stolen ATVs and side-by-side were seen on Duplichan’s property in the 22300 block of Baseline.5 Road in the rural Warden area, according to court records.

That anonymous source also reportedly tipped off the victims their property was going to be moved sometime overnight to Lind, in Adams County, according to the police report.

That night, March 19, deputies observed a pickup truck pulling a trailer arriving at Duplichan’s property. At 3 a.m., the same pickup truck was seen departing the property, driving toward Adams County, according to police records. Deputies stopped the truck after it crossed the white fog line.

Deputies located a Bobcat skid-steer at the front of the trailer, as well as two four-wheelers and a Polaris side-by-side. The driver, identified as Tyson Sullivan, said he was transporting the vehicles as a favor for his friend, who he only referred to as “T,” but was later identified as Triston Duplichan, according to court documents. Sullivan told officers he did not know the property he was transporting was stolen and was released after the items were seized.

Deputies filed for a search warrant on Duplichan’s property to locate items reported stolen that were not recovered during the traffic stop. Around 7:30 a.m., deputies searched the property, detaining Tristan Duplichan in a camp trailer on the property. Duplichan reportedly denied any knowledge of the stolen property, according to court records.

Inside large metal shops on Duplichan’s property, deputies located a number of other items that had been reported stolen, including a four-wheeler. Duplichan was transported to Grant County jail for investigation of stolen vehicle possession.

However, Duplichan told police he recently tested positive for COVID-19, which would have made him one of the very few confirmed positive cases in the county at that time. Due to this, Duplichan was released from custody, and two patrol deputies were ordered to lock down in their vehicles, according to court records. Law enforcement officials later reportedly confirmed with health officials that Duplichan had never been tested for COVID-19.

According to the police report, Duplichan admitted on April 7 to deputies he lied about being infected with the coronavirus to escape being booked into jail. Officers recommended that Duplichan be charged with third-degree escape from custody and false reporting, though prosecutors did not pursue those charges.