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Woman will serve 7 days after attempting to drive off with running vehicle

(File; Trevor T. Trujillo, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — A 31-year old Montana resident will serve seven days in jail after she attempted to drive off with a vehicle left running in the parking lot of an Evansville gas station Tuesday.

Brittney Neely pleaded guilty in Natrona County Circuit Court on Thursday to an amended misdemeanor charge of criminal entry, having originally faced a felony charge of grand theft.

Neely was reported to have been dropped off in the area and had been observed interacting with a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper across the street before walking over to the station. 

Police said Neely had attempted to drive off with an SUV that had been left parked and running, with a dog inside, while the owner had gone inside to use the restroom at the Loaf ‘N Jug on Curtis Street. Security footage shows Neely attempting to turn the wheel while the SUV lurched backwards. Security features effectively rendered the vehicle inoperable due to the owner retaining the key fob, police confirmed.

Neely then abandoned the vehicle of her own volition and was contacted by the Evansville Police Department under the Interstate 25 bridge and later arrested.

Neely told Circuit Court Judge Brian Christiansen on Thursday that she “thought the lady was telling me to get in her car.”

Christiansen then asked if Neely had entered the vehicle without authority or permission, and Neely agreed that she had. 

Brittney Neely appears in Circuit Court on Thursday, 6/30/22 (Oil City)