A series of events kept Mineral County Sheriff’s deputies busy during the first week of March.

The first day of March, a female senior citizen contacted law enforcement advising them that she could not find her bank card. Upon making contact with the female, it was discovered that she also could not locate her checkbook and over $4,000 had been withdrawn from her account without consent.

Deputies began an investigation and in a statement to the Independent-News, the following facts are gathered from deputies, “Tiffany Blackwood a 31 year old female was assisting the victim as a caregiver. The suspicious transactions on the account were verified through various pieces of evidence to have been made by Blackwood.”

On March 3, members of the sheriff’s office applied for and were granted a search warrant for 113 English Street in Hawthorne, the location where Blackwood was staying. While executing the warrant, the victim’s bank card and checkbook were located in Blackwood’s personal property.

Blackwood was arrested for multiple counts of: burglary; theft; forgery; obtain, possess a credit or debit card without consent; use a credit, debit card without consent and exploitation of the elderly. Her bail is $565,000.

Two other residents were arrested as a result of the warrant – Mark Phillips was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Phillips was given a bail of $1,140. Cathy Plevney was also arrested for unlawful use of a controlled substance. Her bail was $2,500.

Blackwood remains in custody of the Mineral County Detention Center. Both Phillips and Plevney have been released.

On March 8, Mineral County Sheriff’s dispatch advised officers that there was a call of an in-progress domestic disturbance at 110 West Third Street in Hawthorne.

When deputies arrived, they located the female subject who was “scared and crying in the front yard.” She advised them that Austin Sasser was inside her bedroom, located in the garage of the home, “Thrashing everything.” She explained to officers that Sasser was in the room when she ran out, locking the door leading to the rest of the home, behind her.

Deputies made entry into the garage/bedroom and found the north wall of the home completely engulfed in flames. Dispatch advised that Mineral County Fire was responding while the deputies “attempted to keep flames from spreading to the rest of the residence,” the statement from the sheriff’s office read.

Once the fire was completely contained, the female subject told deputies that Sasser had threatened her with a box cutter knife and was “destroying everything she owned.”

The box cutter knife was located in the room and the victim advised her that Sasser had tried to catch her room on fire on a previous occasion.

Forty minutes later, Sasser was located and arrested.

The Nevada Fire Marshall’s Office was called in to assist in the investigation and advised authorities that there was evidence to suggest the fire was intentional.

Sasser was charged with: arson – first degree; assault with deadly weapon; felony destruction of property and child abuse/neglect.

He is currently housed at the Mineral County Detention Center on $256,000 bail.

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