Inside look at Fox 40 anchor Sabrina Rodriguez and fiancé Nicholas Gray's alleged shoplifting conspiracy and drug-manufacturing charges

Life was better than good earlier this summer for Fox40 morning-show reporter and anchor Sabrina Rodriguez—before she was facing shoplifting and conspiracy charges.

Or before her fiancé Nicholas Gray was facing years in prison for the manufacture of illegal marijuana concentrates, arson, drug dealing and battery.

Just weeks ago, the duo was a glamorous couple, attending award shows—and Rodriguez was winning Emmys. On June 14, for instance, she accepted two NorCal Emmys in San Francisco.

Her speech, however, caught the audience off guard: She talked about the “biggest emotional roller coaster” of her life, “every reporter’s worst nightmare”: On May 4, Gray proposed and the couple got engaged. That’s the good stuff. But two days later, on May 6, it bad news: the couple’s south Sacramento rental home “literally exploded and burnt down in a fire,” she told the crowd.

She then held up a flattened gray slab of metal: “This is what’s left of my [other] Emmy.” (See video, here.)

Sacramento law enforcement has a different story. They say that the 2:40 a.m. fire was a result of an explosion caused by the illegal manufacture of butane-hash-oil, or concentrated marijuana.

Gray was arrested last week for the fire and other charges. He previously was arrested in May for shoplifting and conspiracy. And he also has a prior felony conviction for possession and sale of marijuana, dating back to 2003, and a burglary conviction.

Rodriguez isn’t facing charges for the fire, but she turned herself in last week for an outstanding shoplifting warrant from 2013, the same charges as her fiancé. This morning, she resigned from Fox 40.

Shoplift till you drop

Were Sabrina Rodriguez and Nick Gray a Sacramento version of Bonnie and Clyde? 

Court documents and police reports allege that the couple partook in an ongoing plot to steal high-end clothing and merchandise and sell it on the black market.

Public records detail a string of larceny and braggadocio:

On January 13 of last year, Gray and Rodriguez allegedly drove from Vacaville to San Francisco to sell stolen Nike Air Max shoes and Coach bags. Police obtained photos of Rodriguez with a stolen pair of shoes and a wallet.

The subsequent month, in February, Gray texted Rodriguez to let her know that he’d stole nearly $3,000 worth of cashmere sweaters and skirts. 

“I got rent,” he wrote.

Other arrest records describe Gray crowing to Rodriguez via text how “easy” it was to steal $640 worth of purses from the BCBG outlet store in Vacaville in March 2013. Rodriguez responded via text later that day:

“Awesome. I love when a plan comes together.”

Also in March, Rodriguez is accused of grabbing a wallet at the Folsom Coach Outlet store, then showing it to Gray, who then placed 10 of them in a “Faraday” style bag, which is designed to block a store’s security sensors. 

A report by a Folsom Police Department officer says Rodriguez helped “conceal the actions of Gray” as he allegedly placed the wallets in the special bag and left the store.

Rodriguez followed about 20 seconds later—as did Outlet security officers.

A police officer caught up to Rodriguez and questioned her. She denied stealing any merchandise and, upon request, provided the cop with Gray’s phone number and date of birth.

The officer called Gray. He didn’t answer. The officer had Rodriguez call him. “After a lengthy conversation between Rodriguez and Gray, she hung up the phone and [said] he refused to meet” with the police, a report states.

Then, Rodriguez was detained in the back of a police vehicle.

While she sat in the back of the car, the officer viewed video surveillance of the theft. She eventually was let go.

When it was all over, Gray allegedly headed to the Bay Area to sell the newly lifted Coach goods. He also texted Rodriguez the following: 

“I love you so much. Your (sic) strong like a samurai.”

Nothing happened unti May 6 of this year, when law enforcement responding to their house fire discovered the shoplifting warrants. Rodriguez and Gray were not taken to jail the morning of the fire, however, but authorities asked them to turn themselves in as soon as possible, according to a source.

That didn’t happen. But Gray was arrested 10 days later, on May 16, while driving Rodriguez’s red Ford Focus. A data search warrant for Gray’s iPhone lead to discovery of images of stolen goods and incriminating text messages between him and his fianceé.

Rodriguez turned herself in last Thursday and is specifically charged with grand theft, burglary and conspiracy, including snatching nearly $2,500 worth of Coach wallets from the company’s Folsom outlet store. She is out on bail, but Gray remains at downtown’s jail. His arraignment this past Monday was continued so that he could retain a defense attorney.

It’s worth noting that law enforcement also obtained an audio recording of Gray from last year, in which he boasts that he’d stolen up to $200,000 worth of clothing in only two months.

In the drug game?

The District Attorney issued a press release last week detailing an increasing trend of butane-hash-oil manufacturing in Sacramento—and dangerous explosions and fires that accompany its production. 

Butane hash oil—which is also referred to as BHO, honey oil, glass, shatter or dabs—is made by turning leftover cannabis trimmings, or shake, into an oil or hash resin by using butane, which is highly flammable.

A local medical-cannabis dispensary owner told SN&R that BHO is “very popular” now and sells for upward of “$60 a gram.”

The DA report includes a reference to a May explosion at a south Sacramento home, where a firefighter was injured combating a blaze started by BHO manufacture. This incident was in fact the May 6 explosion at Gray and Rodriguez’s residence.

Rodriguez’s attorney, Mark Reichel, says his client “had no knowledge” of any illegal cannabis manufacturing going on at her home—even though marijuana plants were discovered in the couple’s garage, according to a source.

Rodriguez had also told her Fox 40 colleagues, during a morning-show segment the day after the fire, that she woke up, hit snooze—then the kitchen exploded. She had no clue why.

While on air, she thanked her friends and colleagues, who “rallied and raised money and brought clothing” to help her and Gray out.

Is Rodriguez—who was never caught physically stealilng merchandise from a store by police—a victim?

“Yes, sometimes you’re caught in a situation that you’re helpless to change,” Reichel said.

Police initially did not find evidence of BHO at the couple’s home, but a follow-up investigation by the homeowner’s insurance company revealed signs of honey-oil-production, according to sources.

Reichel calls it a weak case. “Not many people are cooking BHO at 3 a.m.,” he says. The DA’s office declined to discuss the case with SN&R.

Rodriguez took a voluntary leave of absence from Fox 40 last week, but eventually resigned this morning.

She’s since hired local public-relations expert Doug Elmets to handle all media inquiries.

Since bringing Elmets onboard, Rodriguez has deleted photos of her with Gray from her Facebook and Instagram accounts, the latter of which is now private. She also sent an email to The Sacramento Bee announcing that she had “severed [her] ties” with her fiancé.

Rodriguez is due in court at the end of the month on August 29.

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