Investigation in multiple crimes preceded chase, crash, and arrest of two suspects - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Investigation in multiple crimes preceded chase, crash, and arrest of two suspects

Keith Leland Crakaal and Megann Rose Holzer (booking photos courtesy of the Casper Police Department; scene photo by Brendan LaChance, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — Further details are being released about a series of related arrests, in an ongoing investigation into several dangerous crimes.

The investigation was launched to look into a connection between multiple similar crimes happening in Natrona County. 

According to a Casper Police Department statement, over the course of four days the CPD, the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, the Mills Police Department, the Evansville Police Department, and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations worked together to identify recently reported crimes; review evidence; and investigate connections. The crimes are said to have consisted of eighteen auto burglaries, six stolen vehicles, one robbery, multiple instances of unauthorized uses of a credit card, seven stolen loaded guns, illegal drugs, and aggravated burglaries. Five suspects have been arrested in the investigation.

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Two of the individuals arrested were identified as being taken into custody after a police chase and dramatic wreck, where police say that the suspects nearly hit two child pedestrians.

22-year-old Megann Rose Holzer has been identified as the suspected driver during the October 22, 2019 chase. She was recommended for charges including Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police Officers, Accessory After the Fact to Aggravated Burglary, and Reckless Driving.

Also arrested at the scene was Keith Leland Crakaal, age 27. Crakaal was recommended for charges of Aggravated Burglary, Wrongful Taking or Concealing of Property, and Conspiracy in the ongoing investigation.

Casper Police say that a citizen reported the theft of an AR-15 rifle, a plate carrier with plates, clothing, and first aid items from a locked, unoccupied vehicle. An affidavit in the case describes a security video of the burglary. A male dressed in black with a black mask is seen breaking the driver’s side window, taking items from the vehicle, and leaving in a nearby gray truck. It was said that the truck returned a short time later and the suspect returned taking more items, after crawling in through the broken window.

Police say that during the security footage, the suspect’s mask fell off and profile and frontal images of the male’s face were able to be obtained. It is also reported that a multi-tool with a glass-breaking point on the end was found in the vehicle, and did not belong to the victim.

Personnel from the Casper Police Department looked at the images obtained from the security footage, and identified the suspect as Crakaal.

Officers also say that another suspect, later identified as Jason Jennings, was seen in video footage of other similar burglaries. Jennings was subsequently arrested and officers report that he was in possession of firearms that had been taken during the burglary that Crakaal was suspected for.

Police say that Jennings admitted that he had obtained the firearm from Crakaal. It was also said that Jennings told officers that another suspect, Kris Hodgins, had driven Crakaal during the burglary. He further said that he had sold stolen firearms to Crakaal.

Police say that they located Cakaal as the passenger in a vehicle, that was later determined to be driven by Holzer. 

The affidavit says that officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Holzer, however Holzer attempted to flee. It is then reported that Holzer took officers on a pursuit through Casper, that ended when the Holzer struck another vehicle and a tree.

Mills Police located the Holzer vehicle near the intersection of Pendell and Wyoming Boulevard. The vehicle fled from officers into a residential neighborhood.

The chase continued through Casper, where CPD Detectives reported seeing Holzer traveling eastbound on West 13th Street, near the intersection with Spruce Street. Police estimate the vehicle’s speed at approximately 60 mph in a 30 mph zone, and said it was swerving around other vehicles.

The affidavit goes on to say that an NCSO vehicle positioned itself in front of the suspect vehicle, and applied their breaks. It was then reported that the suspect vehicle swerved around the NCSO truck and narrowly missed to children pedestrians.

The suspect vehicle continued onto northbound South Wolcott street, near the intersection with East 12th Street, running a red light, striking another vehicle, and coming to rest after striking a tree.

During the pursuit, a bag was reportedly thrown from the Holzer vehicle. Police say this bag was recovered and a Ruger LC9 pistol was found inside.

Holzer and Crakaal were placed under arrest and interviewed. Following her arrest, Holzer is quoted in the affidavit telling officers the pursuit was “like being in Grand Theft Auto,” referencing a popular video game franchise.

Holzer also is said to have told officers that she knew Crakaal was facing criminal charges, and when police attempted to stop her, she ran from police at Crakaal’s request.

During an interview, Crakaal told police that he had a methamphetamine addiction, and he decided to attempt auto burglary to make money. He implicated Hodgins as assisting with the burglary.

Crakaal said that the two men drove to the Centennial Hills area, with Hodgins driving, where they decided to get into cars to steal items.

An affidavit says that Crakaal told officers that he attempted to get into two vehicles but the doors were locked. He then said the two men continued driving until Crakaal spotted a gun rack in a pickup truck. Police report that Crakaal said that he broke out the window with a multitool that he dropped and left inside. He removed the rifle from the rack and took it to the truck, and he and Hodgins drove away.

The men then reportedly returned to the area were Crakaal took more items including the plate carriers. He further told officers that he gave the plate carriers to Hodgins, and kept the rifle to sell. He further said that h had purchased firearms from a friend, and knew those firearms were stolen.

Crakaal and Holzer were transported to the Natrona County Detention Center without further reported incident.

All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the appropriate respective county and federal offices.