COARSEGOLD — A 93-year-old artist, author and explorer will hopefully soon recover a portion of her precious belongings thanks to some sharp-eyed residents of Yosemite Lakes Park.
On Saturday, ABC30 reported the story of Helen Schreider, “famed explorer,” who was in the process of relocating from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Bay Area in Northern California.
She hired a moving crew and filled two trucks with her most precious possessions. ABC 30 reported that last night — while parked in Fresno — one of the trucks was stolen: a 16-foot Penske rental seemed to have vanished from its space in the hotel parking lot. Her treasures were gone.
That is, until a woman in YLP followed her instincts to help solve this confounding crime. And she wasn’t the only one who reported it. CHP says they received multiple calls to 911 to report that the truck they had seen on the ABC30 news story was sitting in the dirt lot just north of the Hillside Supermarket on Yosemite Springs Parkway.
CHP Officer Steven Davis responded to the scene, talked to the woman who called it in, ran the plate on the truck, and it came back clean. With no alerts at the Oakhurst Office that the truck had been stolen, Davis says he returned to patrol.
But the woman was persistent. She went home, checked the ABC30 story again, and called back. It’s the right truck, she said, with the right plate number.
With no report of the vehicle being stolen, Officer Davis got creative in following up on the woman’s story – he Googled it. Sure enough, he read the ABC30 report and her information on the Indiana license number was correct. So he, along with Officer Kevin McPhail, went back to the parking lot and verified that indeed it was the stolen truck.
It was unlocked, both cab and cargo area, and no one was around. Unfortunately, of the approximately 50 paintings that were reportedly in the truck when it was stolen, Officer Davis says there are only about 10 left.
The officers taped off the area as a crime scene and Fresno PD was called out to conduct their investigation.
Back to Helen — she’s famous, having traveled the length of the Americas with her husband Frank in the mid-20th century, as reporters for National Geographic. They lived for periods of time in about 50 countries on five continents.
This week, among the items Helen packed for moving as she migrated to northern California, were her own paintings which documented their adventures. When the truck was stolen in Fresno, so was the artist’s life work.