A week after the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office passed along the story that a group of Spanish tourists had been robbed by scarily armed, geared-up men while visiting the redwoods, rangers with Redwood National and State Parks report that, after further investigation, they’ve concluded the Spaniards actually made the whole thing up. (Also, they say this is a great time to visit the park since there’s no one around for some reason!) Press release below:
Park law enforcement rangers have determined the report from tourists of being robbed at gunpoint near the Lady Bird Johnson (LBJ) trailhead of Redwood National and State Parks on Nov. 3 was not true. No armed robbery took place within the parks and visitors should not be concerned about exploring the wonders of their public lands.
Upon notification of robbery, park law enforcement rangers immediately began investigating the area along Bald Hills Road where the incident allegedly took place, and began comparing its time frame with similar incidents reported outside park boundaries. While the victims claimed that multiple shots were fired from an assault-style rifle, no shell casings were found on the ground. In addition, other National Park Service employees in the area at the same time as the alleged robbery heard no shots fired.
Rangers then conducted multiple witness interviews, including the land owner of the first robbery that took place off Bald Hills Road on private land. The rangers were then able, through a third party, to contact the five tourists. They admitted that they fabricated the park robbery story because they were concerned about being associated with activities at a local marijuana operation.
Park law enforcement rangers are continuing their investigation into the matter and are collaborating with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
The reduced crowds during fall and winter months, combined with the enhanced beauty of rain-washed forests make this a very enjoyable time of year for scenic drives and trail strolls. However, for safety when traveling and parking in remote areas it is always prudent to stow your valuables, electronics and accessories well out of sight—or better yet, bring them with you. Lock and alarm your vehicle, and be aware of your surroundings.
Redwood National and State Parks law enforcement officers encourage anyone with information regarding the Bald Hills Road robberies or any suspected crime within the parks to call the park crime tip line at: (707) 465-7353.