Theft suspect was fleeing coronavirus

by Keith Kinnaird
News Editor | March 27, 2020 1:00 AM

PRIEST RIVER — An Ada County man who climbed a tree to avoid arrest earlier this week had come to Bonner County to flee the coronavirus infections in southern Idaho, according to court documents.

Sean Allen Patterson is charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in addition to charges of possession of stolen property and methamphetamine.

The additional charges against Patterson emerged after a fifth-wheel camp trailer he was using in the 600 block of Spirit Lake Cutoff Road held a .30-30 Winchester rifle. Patterson was also in possession of a loaded Mauser C96 semiautomatic pistol when he was coaxed down from a tree on Monday afternoon.

The search also turned up a .22-caliber pistol reported stolen in a Boise County burglary, 6 grams of meth and drug paraphernalia.

Patterson, 46, is being held at the Bonner County Jail with bail set at $50,000. At the time of his arrest, Patterson was wanted on a felony no-bond warrant in an Ada County theft case.

Patterson is barred from possessing firearms due to felony convictions in Bonner County for illegally possessing a firearm and felony eluding in 2005. He was also convicted of felony eluding in a 2013 Ada County case, according to court documents.

Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Katie Edburg filed an addendum to the criminal complaint alleging Patterson is a persistent violator due to his three prior felony convictions, court records show.

Patterson allegedly ran from deputies while armed with the Mauser pistol after they discovered a campsite containing stolen property on U.S. Forest Service land, a probable cause affidavit.

Patterson’s wife, 38, told deputies they fled Boise a week before to get away from COVID-19, the affidavit said.

The Idaho Department of Health & Welfare reported on Thursday that there were 37 confirmed coronavirus cases in Ada County, the second-highest number of cases in the state.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for April 8.

The theft and unlawful firearms possession charges are punishable by up to five years in prison. The state’s sentencing enhancement could five years to life to the underlying sentences if Patterson is convicted.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.