GREEN RIVER, Wyo. — Seems like crooks are getting dumber in southwest Wyoming these days.
Authorities say they've arrested several members of a car theft ring that burglarized numerous vehicles at Little America in September, after one of the crooks left his cell phone at the crime scene.
And in another case, an out-of-date license plate led to the capture of an Idaho fugitive with a car full of illegal drugs.
Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said his agency recently arrested three people alleged to have been involved in a September series of vehicle burglaries at Little America west of Green River.
Haskell said deputies generated several important leads in the case thanks to a cell phone left behind at the scene during one of the car thefts.
Haskell said specially trained investigators with the Green River Police Department examined the phone and were able to extract “relevant information” that led to the suspects' arrest.
Authorities arrested Mitchell Bernard, 23, of Rock Springs. He was charged with numerous felony counts related to the Little America burglaries.
He was also charged with felony conspiracy to commit unlawful use of a credit card. The card was allegedly stolen during another vehicle burglary reported to the Rock Springs Police Department.
County detectives also executed a search warrant last month at the Rock Springs residence of Gary Lee Carter, 39. Haskell said the investigators recovered a quantity of stolen goods, among them some property taken during vehicle burglaries in Rock Springs.
Among the goods found were car stereos, a GPS unit, an in-car computer and an LG cellular phone.
Haskell said Skyler Franklin Montag, 22, of Rock Springs was also arrested in connection with the case. Montag was picked up in Utah on Oct. 23 by the Midvale, Utah, police.
Montag is charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and a single count of conspiracy to commit felony larceny. Haskell said the investigation is continuing.
Haskell said an another incident, an Idaho fugitive was taken into custody Sunday after an alert deputy spotted an outdated license plate on his vehicle.
Haskell said Deputy Sheriff Pat O'Farrell was on patrol on U.S. Highway 191 north of Rock Springs Sunday night when he passed a vehicle with an outdated, older-edition version of a Wyoming license plate on its front end.
O'Farrell stopped the vehicle and spoke with the male driver and female passenger. The man was unable to produce a driver's license and provided inconsistent information concerning his identity and age.
O'Farrell was eventually able to identify the driver as Christopher Scott Ayers, 30, of Burley, Idaho.
Ayers was wanted by the Cassia County Sheriff's Office in Burley for assault with a knife, destroying evidence, injury to a child, eluding, and leaving the scene of an accident.
During the course of the investigation, deputies recovered a black case from the vehicle allegedly containing numerous bags of methamphetamine, crack cocaine and marijuana.
The woman, Cherie Boren, 44, of Green River, was wanted locally on a warrant charging her with domestic battery.
She was also arrested.
Haskell attributed Ayers' capture to “good old-fashioned police work” and praised O'Farrell for being alert.
Contact Jeff Gearino at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-875-5359.