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Casper man faces nine felony charges in connection to six ‘smash and grab’ auto burglaries

(File Photo; Trevor T. Trujillo, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — A Casper man faces 11 felony charges and two misdemeanors in connection to multiple auto burglaries and thefts reported between March and June of this year. Arresting affidavits note at least $2,500 in unauthorized purchases with stolen credit cards and the theft of at least one item valued at $1,500.

Jason Braham, 31, faces six counts of auto burglary, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. There are also two charges of felony credit card fraud, a charge of grand theft, and two charges of petty theft. 

Braham also faces two charges of child endangerment in connection to hundreds of needles, some testing presumptive positive for methamphetamine residue, that police say they found during a search of a home, according to an affidavit.

The affidavits note auto burglaries in parking lots at these dates and locations:

  • May 8: Church on 4600 block of South Poplar Street
  • June 5: Church on 1900 block of South Poplar Street
  • June 14: YMCA and the Natrona County Library

In one case, unauthorized purchases with the stolen credit cards were made at three locations within an hour. Throughout the cases, purchases were made at various retail locations for high-value items including an iPad, phone cards, and gift cards.

In the cited auto burglary investigations, police found that the suspect had smashed a window and grabbed a purse or wallet. In one case, unauthorized purchases valued at $1,495 were made at Walmart. One complainant reported the theft of approximately $1,000 in cash and an iPhone valued at $1,500.

Police said security camera footage from one retail location revealed the plate number of the gold Jeep, and that the Jeep was registered to Braham, whose driver’s license photo also matched store footage and a witness who worked as store security.

Security footage from the smash and grab at the library shows Braham getting out of the Jeep, smashing the window of the car parked next to him, and removing a bag, an affidavit states.

Braham was taken into custody at his home on South Melrose. During the arrest, police say he attempted to pass a wallet from his back pocket to his wife. The wallet was found to contain multiple cards belonging to the complainant from the library. 

Police serving a search warrant at the defendant’s home reportedly found hundreds of needles and drug paraphernalia.

Police were also granted a search of another home shared by Braham, his wife, and two young children. About 200 hypodermic needles were found, some capped and some not, in a chest of drawers in the master bedroom, the affidavit states. Some of the needles also tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine. Police also found an ID card belonging to the complainant from the June 5 auto burglary.

A safe that police eventually opened contained 25 needles and ID cards belong to a man who had reported an auto burglary in March.

Braham waived his preliminary hearing in circuit court Tuesday. The state’s attorney requested a bond of $100,000, saying Braham posed a significant flight risk and a risk to the public.

Braham’s defense characterized the majority of the charges as “property crimes” and “not an assault on people.”

Circuit Court Judge Brian Christiansen set bail at $50,000 cash or surety.