Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Officials: Missing man believed to have traveled to Reno, sought for embezzlement

Bryan Scobey of Santa Rosa is believed to have gone missing of his own volition, and now is being sought by authorities who allege he embezzled a vehicle from his employer. Courtesy photo.



SONOMA COUNTY – A Santa Rosa man who disappeared from work last week appears to have gone missing on his own, and now is wanted on embezzlement charges, law enforcement officials reported late Thursday.

Bryan William Scobey, 35, is no longer considered a missing person, but Sonoma County Sheriff's detectives are actively seeking him for allegedly embezzling company property – including a pickup truck – from his employer, Hitmen Termite & Pest Control Inc., according to Sgt. Tim Duke.

Duke said a male subject told authorities that he had driven Scobey to Reno, Nev.

The latest information in the case follows a week of exhaustive work both by authorities and Scobey's friends, who started Facebook and MySpace pages, and even launched a Web site, , to help find him. On Thursday, nearly 2,000 people had signed up to be Scobey's friend on Facebook.

His friends also had raised money to hire a private investigator, but Randy Hill and Bob Ramme, who led the effort, reported on the Facebook page Thursday that they were suspending the private investigator.

Late Thursday, Scobey's friends on Facebook shared different reactions, from disbelief to relief that he is alive. Many also were preparing to offer him support and encouragement for when he returns, as well as offering to raise money to assist Scobey's wife and three stepchildren.

Duke said that at approximately 5:21 p.m. Jan. 13 the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office was contacted by a concerned representative of Hitmen Termite & Pest Control Inc. who wanted to check on the welfare of Scobey, one of their employees. Scobey had reportedly worked for the company for several years.

The Hitmen representative reported to the sheriff's office that the company's vehicle assigned to Scobey, a pickup truck, was last known to be in the area of Freemont Drive and Burndale Road in Sonoma.

Several deputies were summoned to check the area in an attempt to locate Scobey or his company vehicle, Duke said. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office helicopter, “Henry-1,” assisted in the search.

During the intensive four-hour search for Scobey, several law enforcement resources were utilized in an attempt to locate him and his vehicle, Duke said.

The company vehicle Scobey was assigned had a global positioning satellite (GPS) device installed. The GPS company was contacted and was able to establish the last known location of the vehicle and time the GPS stopped functioning, which was at 8:39 a.m. Jan. 13. The area was checked but neither Scobey nor the company vehicle was located.

Scobey had a company cell phone, Duke said. The cell phone carrier was contacted and revealed the last phone call made from Scobey's phone occurred at 8:49 a.m.

Duke said it was apparent that the GPS and cell phone, both belonging to the company, had been disabled. Preliminarily, it was unknown if Scobey or another source disabled the devices.

Authorities deemed Scobey's disappearance suspicious and it subsequently became a missing person's case, the investigation of which was delegated to detectives in the Sonoma County Sheriff's Violent Crimes Unit, Duke said.

Detectives continued to use existing law enforcement resources and implemented additional resources in an attempt to locate Scobey and his company vehicle, Duke said.

Investigative leads took detectives to the city of Yreka, in Siskiyou County. Detectives worked with local law enforcement authorities and ascertained that Scobey arrived in Yreka on Jan. 13. He allegedly stopped in Yreka on his way to Portland, Ore. – which is listed as his birthplace on his MySpace page.

Scobey was traveling by himself, driving the company vehicle, and appeared to be in good health, according to the report.

While in Yreka, Scobey ran out of money. Duke's report said that Scobey allegedly sold tools and other items off the company vehicle that belong to Hitmen Termite & Pest Control Inc.

On the night of Friday, Jan. 15, Scobey allegedly befriended what Duke called “an unwitting subject” to drive him to Reno. The subject agreed, and in exchange for driving Scobey to Reno, Scobey told the man that he could keep the Hitmen Termite & Pest Control vehicle.

Scobey is being sought for embezzlement of a company vehicle and items that he took and sold without the permission of his employer, Duke said.

Duke said that the Hitmen truck was located and will be returned to the company. Several tools and other items Scobey allegedly sold or bartered have also been recovered.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office at 707-565-2511.

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