CASPER, Wyo. — A pair of Mills residents were arrested Wednesday, March 29 at a shop on North Loop Avenue after the owner’s friend drove by and alerted him to the presence of vehicles on the property.
Shawna Hansen, 40, and Benjamin Sorby, 38, heard identical charges of theft, grand theft, and burglary in Natrona County Circuit Court on Thursday. Bonds were set at $5,000 cash or surety.
Hansen and Sorby are presumed innocent until proven or pleading guilty.
Natrona County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the shop at around 3:43 p.m. Wednesday to find two vehicles and a flatbed trailer loaded with stoves and a wood cabinet, according to the affidavit.
They also found Hansen and Sorby. Hansen reportedly stated that a friend named “John Ceadow” had given them permission to be on the property, but neither suspect could spell the friend’s name or provide his phone number.
In separate interviews, the suspects’ stories diverged regarding where they had met “John Ceadow”: One said Chatters, the other said The Beacon.
Deputies reportedly found their stories lacking in consistency and credibility, the affidavit said.
Sorby reportedly said that “Ceadow” had told him about the property and that upon further investigation Sorby had come to believe the owners were dead or in prison. He said he and Hansen had begun to check out the property and had done so on a few occasions this month.
Sorby reportedly said that, on one occasion, they had taken six drill pipes and sold them as scrap for $400.
The shop’s owner — and his sister —arrived on scene and said they owned everything and no one had permission to be there.
The owner said the value of the drill pipes was about $1,500 each.
In the vehicles on scene registered to the suspects, the owners identified several items as theirs: an old container of Hogdon gunpowder, a vacuum, six windshield reflectors, clothing, a specialty meat grinder, a fishing net and items of sentimental value.
The owner valued the three stoves on the flatbed at $500–$600 each.
Sorby reportedly said the items on the flatbed had appeared there while he and Hansen were having lunch and running errands, and that they were in the process of unloading them when deputies arrived.