Local News

Tuesday, Apr 05 2011 10:16 PM

Suspect in Mojave car theft: 'I made myself look like a bush'

BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

The stolen Thunderbird spun out of control and when it came to a stop, Stephine Yocum saw her chance.

She said she ran into deep brush off Highway 58 east of Cameron Road. The plan was to hide by using skills she learned from the television show "Survivorman" that was broadcast on the Discovery Channel.

Yocum, speaking from the downtown jail Tuesday, said she cut off portions of her pants and tied them around her feet to better walk through the heavy brush. She then cut pieces of other clothing into strips to tie branches and grass together. She hid under the resulting homemade shelter.

"I made myself look like a bush," she said.

The California Highway Patrol found her anyway. Yocum, 23, is being held on $52,500 bail on suspicion of burglary, auto theft, receiving stolen property, hit and run resulting in property damage and driving without a license, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Department website.

Janie Cramer, a passenger in the stolen car, remains under investigation regarding her alleged involvement in the burglary Monday morning at Kieffe and Sons Ford in Mojave, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Pat Hamilton, general manager of Kieffe and Sons, said the 2004 Thunderbird had been in one of the repair bays. From what he's heard, thieves broke the molding off a door jamb on one of the garage doors to get inside, he said.

The thieves rifled through drawers looking for money and keys and then took off with the Thunderbird, Hamilton said. The theft is a rare occurrence for the dealership.

"We're out in the middle of Mojave and usually nothing happens out here," he said.

As for Yocum, she's hoping to be reunited with her significant other and two children in Palmdale once she puts this incident behind her. She said she's used methamphetamine since she was 18 years old, but has recently made progress.

"I've been clean for three weeks," she said.

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