Texas returns man accused in 2019 rural crime spree to Vale

Joshua B. Christoffersen, 41. (Photo courtesy of Malheur County Sheriff’s Office)

VALE – Joshua B. Christoffersen, the Idaho man who disappeared after being arrested on multiple charges following a New Year’s Day manhunt in 2020, is now back in the Malheur County Jail.

This time, he won’t be released on a promise to return to court.

He is being held on $170,000 bail, after being extradited from Texas earlier this month. Christoffersen, 41, of Caldwell, had been in custody in Texas on drug possession charges.

He is scheduled to enter a plea to his Malheur County charges on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Christoffersen’s case caught public attention a year ago when he was accused of a crime spree and then walked free from jail over a miscommunication among prosecutors.

According to police reports and court filings, Christoffersen stole a pickup truck in Marsing, Idaho, on Dec. 30, 2019, and then botched a burglary attempt the following day at a farm outside of Harper. He is accused of stealing a Polaris Ranger and a John Deere tractor from owner John Floweree’s farm near Harper.

Christoffersen fled the farm after a neighbor detected the late-night activity and fired one shot, the neighbor later told the Enterprise.

Christoffersen was arrested New Year’s Day 2020 after police from three agencies searched a remote area at the EP Minerals mining operation about 70 miles west of Vale.

He appeared in Malheur County Circuit Court on Jan. 2, 2020, and was released without bail on the condition that he would report in daily to community corrections officials ahead of an arraignment scheduled for later in the month. The prosecutor handling that court appearance said the state didn’t oppose his release.

Dave Goldthorpe, Malheur County district attorney, later explained the prosecutor didn’t have complete information at the time and that Christoffersen should have faced bail.

According to court records, Christoffersen checked in for only six days after he was freed and then authorities lost track of him. A nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest on the pending Malheur County charges, which included first-degree aggravated theft, first-degree theft, two counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, three counts of second-degree burglary, one count of felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

The San Jacinto Sheriff’s Office in Coldspring, Texas, said Christoffersen was arrested there last fall for possession of methamphetamine.

That triggered a weeks-long effort to get Christoffersen back to Malheur County, according to extradition records provided by Goldthorpe.

On Sept. 11, he requested that Gov. Kate Brown seek Christoffersen’s extradition. On Oct. 12, Brown issued a “Governor’s Requisition” addressed to “his excellency, the governor of the state of Texas.” On Nov. 3, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive warrant to have Christoffersen arrested and returned to Oregon.

By then, Christoffersen was in custody in Coldspring on the drug charges. He was returned to Oregon in January – a year after he last reported in to Malheur County authorities.

News tip? Contact editor Les Zaitz at [email protected].