Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Opinion Piece By Donna Westfall – June 5, 2015

Why aren’t the bad guys in jail?

Where we left off on Parts 1 through 4 of this story: On August 18, 2011, County resident, Dave Egan, had his door bashed in by a SWAT type operation of the Sheriffs Department, beaten unconscious,  and the only item named on the warrant was never found in the raid (the BlackHawk Pistol). Yet these Sheriffs deputies and detectives confiscated every valuable thing in his home including his entire gun collection, heirloom pieces from his family, gold coins, and cash.  All of this was perpetrated by former Sheriffs’ Detective Bob Barber’s claim that Dave Egan was a prior felon, a career criminal which was UNTRUE.

BlackHawk Pistol
BlackHawk Pistol


The City of Paradise is 90 minutes from Sacramento, California.  In 2008, a BlackHawk Pistol was reported stolen from a storage locker and reported to Paradise Police.  Serial #15919.  Caliber 357, Maker: Ruger. The case is inactive and according to their records department on June 4, 2015, the pistol was never recovered.

Whether or not former LA police officer, Lee Forrest,  ever possessed this gun is questionable. Complaints were made to Lee Forrests’ insurance company, State Farm Lead Investigator, Jill Scott, because according to Dave Egan, Lee Forrest boasted about getting away with many scams involving items stolen from him that he never actually possessed.  Why is Lee Forrest not being questioned or charged?

On Aug, ‘2011, Detective Bob Barber with the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department obtained a warrant from an out-of-town Judge J. Michael Brown who retired in 2009.  On the warrant was listed BlackHawk Pistol. That’s it. NO DRUGS were alleged.

Why would Bob Barber lie about Dave Egan being a felon and career criminal?

Because, I believe and Dave Egan believes and a whole lot of other people in this town and outside of this town believe that Barber’s intent was to steal from Egan.

Why is Barber not in jail?

On September 9, 2013,  in his deposition, Bob Barber (which is public information on the Federal PACER website Case 1:12-cv-05300-NJV  Document33-9 Filed 11/19/13) states he never met Lee Forrest.  He spoke to the man by phone and was told that Lee Forrest said he bought the BlackHawk pistol from Dave Egan.

Even I know that’s impossible.

How is it impossible?

Because when Lee Forrest reported a stolen BlackHawk Pistol to the Curry County Sheriff’s Department, they ran a search.  OOPS.  The gun was reported stolen in 2008 in Paradise, California. Neither Lee Forrest nor Dave Egan were part of that report.  Lee Forrest was in trouble.

Somehow the only thing that makes sense is if Lee Forrest connected with former Det. Bob Barber and told him he could use the BlackHawk Pistol scam to get at Egan’s gun collection if he eliminated any legal problems for Forrest.

How on earth did Det. Bob Barber allow ALL the sheriff’s deputies to join him in STEALING all of Dave Egan’s guns, ammunition, passport, gold coins, money and more?  What’s worse, why are 52 guns still not returned to Dave Egan?

Let’s discuss stealing and theft by law enforcement.  IF sheriff’s deputies know that they are doing something illegal, at any point one of them could have called a halt to it.  NOT ONE DID.  In my mind, that makes them all culpable.

Why are most of them still on the public payroll? 

Why are they not in jail and paying restitution?  

Just like adults witnessing sexual abuse of a minor and not stopping it, they are equally culpable as the perpetrator.

According to Dave Egan the following 10 Del Norte County law enforcement officers were all there stealing everything in his house not nailed down:

Bob Barber

Ed Fleshman

Steve Morris

Richard Griffin

Seth Cimino

Bill Steven

Ofc Gill

Don McManus

Richard Schneck

Carl Berry

William Fischer

Sgt. Henderson

He doesn’t know the names of any of the other officers, but does recall there were more than 10 others involved.

How on earth did Det. Bob Barber retain his job under former Sheriff Dean Wilson? Was our former Sheriff derelict in his duties?  Was he an absentee Sheriff?  Or was he part of a department that needed to be cleaned out like some rat infested nest?

Why is former Det. Bob Barber not being charged with crimes for stealing guns from Dave Egan?  Why is Barber not facing trial?

If you’re like me and have lived in ignorance about guns, gun registration,  gun ownership, how to shoot a gun or gun safety, then let me walk you through how things work in this county and how they are supposed to work in this State.

In this county, and reciting only the Dave Egan case, our Sheriff’s Department has violated numerous search and seizure protocols.

In California penal code 18255 –

(a) Upon taking custody of a firearm or other deadly weapon pursuant to this division, the officer shall give the owner or person who possessed the firearm a receipt.

Was this done?

“NO!” says Dave Egan.  “They left off dozens and dozens of items.”

(b) The receipt shall describe the firearm or other deadly weapon and list any identification or serial number on the firearm.

Was this done?

“NO!” says Dave Egan.

(c) The receipt shall indicate where the firearm or other deadly weapon can be recovered, the time limit for recovery as required by this division, and the date after which the owner or possessor can recover the firearm or other deadly weapon.

Was this done?

“NO!” says Dave Egan.  “The few items they did return to me were in fair to poor condition.  Some, it was obvious, had been used. The Sheriff’s Department destroyed the value of my priceless collectibles and heirlooms”

Who are the bad guys?

Seems to me they are the ones being paid to serve and protect; not lie, cheat and steal. Let’s call a spade a spade. Lying, cheating and stealing is what it appears to be.

Why are they not in jail?

Because there’s not enough public pressure to correct this wrong.  All of that is about to change.  DEMAND that the Board of Supervisors address this wrong.  Get this agendized.  Start publicizing this on Facebook, Twitter and letting everyone you know let everyone they know about what’s going on in our County.

It’s too bad new Sheriff Apperson had to inherit this nightmare.  This is his opportunity to try to make sure this type of conduct doesn’t continue in this county.

Finally, what about the missing video I requested under the Public Records Act from the County/DA’s office/Sheriff’s Dept?

Controller, Clinton Schaad states that since 2010, 43 body cameras have been purchased for $321.43/each by the Sheriff’s Department. Last year, acting DA, Katie Micks, said she had the Egan raid video in her possession, but had not viewed it yet.  I can think of only a few reasons it has not been provided to me.  None of them good.  A)They destroyed the video, or B) they’re modifying the video.

Trust level at all time low.

Time to talk to the feds again, and get this broadcast in the national news to bring attention to this corrupt little town.

Why aren’t the bad guys in jail?  It’s time for the good people to do something.

Albert Einstein quote

10 thoughts on “Part 5: BlackHawk Pistol Story – Stealing From the Public?”
  1. Basically Lee Forest a “Frequent Flyer” as was known with the major insurance companies, for his numerous insurance scams, committed yet again this time it backfiring when he was now facing criminal consequences for signing on an Oregon police report that he had purchased and possessed an alleged stolen item. To alleviate his consequences he tells the cops the stolen item is now in CA at a law abiding citizens’ home, thus contradicting his statements under signing under oath.

    What should have transpired was a phone call from Dave Gardner to Egan in CA. This is the protocol and Gardner handles these situations this way day after day. Instead a full blown SWAT type raid, assault, unlawful imprisonment, a smashed in front door and the theft of $90,000 in property was perpetrated via Mad Dog Barber formerly of the Del Norte Sheriff Dept. This all happened in less than 48 hrs. of Forrests’ lies.

    In our Constitution, we are suppose to be Free of Unreasonable Search and Seizures. When I moved here 20 yrs back I learned of the “Dirty Del Norte 2-step or Double-Dip”. That is, I met a jailer named Sewn at the Sheriff’s Dept. at a local gun shop that informed me that when a firearm is sold in this county to a friend, the bad guy “Sewn” then reports said gun “Stolen” in an effort that should said gun find it’s way back in the system, the person that sold it, gets it back because the victim is to scared to defend themselves, and the bad guy gets his already once sold item back, to double-dip (re-sell).

    On top of this, the comment by George above, being not only ludicrous, but he needs to get all the facts first in that the Victim in all this, Egan was facing NO criminal charges, as he went to court after this horrific event and was released and bail exonerated! TWO years later, retaliatory criminal charges brought by disgraced D.A Alexander before his ousting, upon Egan for suing the Dept. Charges were baseless and dismissed albeit Egan endured 1 year and close to 30 court appearances to get him to give up. Egan didn’t give up and prevailed. Egan’s attorneys were suppose to add Dave Gardner and the entire Curry County Dept. for Gross Misfeasance.

    So the analogy is this: One purchases a lawnmower or TV set at a garage sale, the bad guy then reports said item “Stolen” a week later. Then some time later gets in touch with a dirty cop like Barber, and claims his TV or lawnmower has been spotted at “Georges or Sams, or Jakes’ home, and well ……………you know the rest! The moral of the story here: “Where was the Fire” as they say. Hundreds of thousands of dollars saved on both sides had Barber utilized some common sense, (eg) from zero to 100 in less than 24 hr’s, full SWAT raid for an old allegedly stolen item with a crazy story from a career scam=artist in another state. This is why there are protocols. If Law enforcement handled them all this way, everyone would be in jail, the system log-jammed and multiple law suits every minute of the day would be filed in response with fear of retribution in Ol’ boys town to sign name.

  2. without pressing judgement on anyone i offer up what i learned from this…Since I knew who lee Forrest was through mutual friends in Brookings I chased him down at his residence and begin asking questions about the Black Hawk pistol…

    I started with the Curry County Sheriff office who did not want to discuss anything regarding this matter because it was currently in litigation…so i decided to go see Lee Forrest, who did not want to talk about the black hawk pistol WHATSOEVER…

    I then started in paradise where the black hawk pistol had been originally stolen…it was stolen from a storage unit and originally owned by an elderly couple whose names escape me..

    The owner of the storage units gave me the telephone number to this elderly couple and I called approximately 3 times leaving a message each and every time…I was contacted by a detective from Redding who asked me why I was calling these people…the detective had informed me the husband who was the owner of the black hawk pistol had passed away and the mrs. wanted to know why I was calling about the Black Hawk Pistol…

    I explained to the detective that this gun had been reported as stolen to the Curry County Police and the owner who reported it stolen was lee Forrest….but…the Curry County Police had placed a comment next to the black hawk pistol that it was not stolen…

    to make a long story short, I felt it was ironic that the suspects who had stolen guns from Lee Forrest were the same suspects who had originally stolen the black hawk pistol from the original owners in paradise…hence that is why the sheriff office never found the black hawk pistol at Dave Egans house….

    I believe that Lee Forrest screwed up, that the police did not do anyone any justice by not questioning Lee Forrest because Lee Forrest was the only person who had the Black Hawk Pistol that was stolen from Paradise California.
    Lee Forrest provided the Curry County Sheriffs department with a list of guns that had been stolen from him along with their serial numbers. Next to the black hawk pistol Lee Forrest wrote “not stolen”.

    The Curry County Police ran the number anyway and discovered it was indeed stolen. Now the police wanted to know where Lee Forrest had purchased that gun. Remember the suspects who stole the gun in the first place are the same suspects who stole the gun from Lee Forrest.

    And just for the record, if you buy a stolen gun you are in just as much trouble as the person selling it to you. Why wasn’t Lee Forrest charged with buying a stolen gun? Because Lee Forrest is retired law enforcement.

    Lee Forrest is smart enough about guns that he would not just randomly buy a weapon without running a background.

    why would Lee Forrest say he bought the gun from DAve Egan? maybe that is a question Lee Forrest should answer, but when you have a friend who is a gun collector and who is not retired from law enforcement well, maybe it was an easy out for Lee Forrest…

  3. And how is Richard Griffin not convicted of theft crimes? He’s been caught on video perjuring himself and stealing money, jewelry, and weaponry. He now has been promoted to a detective and committing multiple crimes! Answer: What happens behind the redwood curtain stays behind the redwood curtain, right good ole’ boy’s system?!
    You’re a Corrupt Cop Griffin and can’t honor that badge your wearing! Disgusting.

    1. He works in Crescent City (Del Norte County) California. Many, many complaints of unlawful home searches…which the warrants are usually very vague, therefore he steals from the homes and there’s no record. Yet he still has his badge.

  4. Donna Westfall do you have any physical evidence supporting Dave Egan’s claim? Do you have any independent third party witnesses? Any surveillance footage from a nearby security system? Or are you just relying solely on the word of a guy that got arrested and was facing criminal charges?

    By the way, you should go back and check your punctuation. You misplaced some commas and apostrophes.

  5. The time has to come NOW! The Sheriff needs to come up with the money for the guns taken from Frank Benjamin’s home on 344 North Pebble Beach. The gun were stolen out of th property room at the Sheriff’s office. Susan White was told to shut up about this by Sheriff Wilson during his election time . But he lost! New Sheriff is not acting on bad officers within the office! The names are well known; Barber, Mc Manus, Commander Stevens. Let’s clean house!!!

  6. Sounds like “mad dog” Bob Barber needs to be neutered. It’s a shame the new sheriff has to deal with the damage caused years ago by bad cops. Also a shame the reputation of good cops of our community has to suffer where it sounds like Barber falsified information for the purpose of getting the warrant and bringing in fellow law officers, all for his own personal scam.

  7. I am writing in response to “Blackhawk Pistol Story Part Five,” barely able to contain my anger. My long time friend, Dave Egan, has been and continues to be a law abiding citizen. He’s been subjected to the worst that our so-called “law enforcement officers” can dish out when they violated every one of his civil rights. Let’s call them what they are, “S_ _t in Uniforms.”

    Why aren’t the good deputies speaking out? Do they want to be lumped with all the bad ones?

    While Dave continues to suffer going on 5 years, I’m astounded how clueless the Board of Supervisors are unless they are somehow involved. If it can happen here, and it can happen to a good guy like Dave, it can happen to you too. The Pen is Mightier than the Sword. Get the word out and stop the maddness.

    I mean what is it gonna take if this was in fact a criminal act, cops like Mad Dog Bob, who completely engineered the whole ILLEGAL RAID, ASSAULT, BATTERY, FALSE ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT and then PILLAGED all of Dave’s priceless antique and highly collectible firearms. Many irreplaceable and many inherited from friends and family. MAD DOG needs to be brought up on criminal charges, loose his pension or pay restitution. His retaliatory acts are standard operating procedure for this town. Being as familiar as I am with Dave’s current lawsuit, I have always found it to be unbelievable that Defendant Steve Morris would have ever gone along with Mad Dog’s inadequate search and seizure warrant cobbled together without even the local District Attorneys’ office sign off. I think it’s entirely possible, that Mad Dog created two separate search and seizure warrants. One to get all other deputies on board to, and then the real one.

  8. OMG….Donna I think you hit the nail on the head! I am sorry after voting in a new Sheriff and this is still going on? I hoped with the change of the department head that things would get cleaned up…..guess not.

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