From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 46 - 7/14/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Two Vehicles Stolen from Owners' Driveways in Pinedale
One was taken by a former policeman
by Jennifer Binning

According to the Sublette County Sheriff's Office, Pinedale residents need to begin to lock their vehicles, even when their cars and trucks are sitting in the driveway.

During the past week, three cars have been reported as being stolen, and fortunately all three have been recovered.

On Monday, July 3, Pete Hallsten left for work in the morning as usual at 8:15 a.m. When he returned at noon, he noticed his white and green 1975 Chevy pickup was missing from his driveway. As his wife and sons were out of town on a camping trip and could not have taken the truck, he called the Sheriff's office. Sheriffs Deputy Jeff Yarbrough asked whether the truck was locked or not, and Mr. Hallsten responded that it was not, and the keys were in the ignition.

While dispatch issued a statewide attempt to locate the truck, Dep. Yarbrough located Mrs. Hallsten at the Soda Lake Campground to make sure she had not been using the truck.

Mrs. Hallsten told the deputy she had returned home briefly at 10:45 a.m. that morning and noticed the truck was missing, but had assumed that her husband was using it, or had lent it to someone. At this point, Dep. Yarbrough went door to door, asking if anyone had seen anything unusual that morning. No one had, and due to the fact that the truck may have been missing for several hours, the Deputy notified neighboring states to be on the lookout for the missing truck.

Later on Monday night, Mr. Hallsten notified the SCSO that a friend of his had seen a white, bearded male in his mid-40s driving the missing truck between 8 and 9 am that morning, headed towards Pine Street.

According to the report, the truck was located one week later in Idaho with 48 year old Denny Dohrmann of Pinedale asleep in the cab. Mr. Dohrmann is being held in Idaho for possession of a stolen vehicle while a warrant for his arrest is issued in Sublette County. Apparently, the truck was returned in good condition, but the Hallsten's are still missing a pair of binoculars and a 35-mm camera that had been in the vehicle.

Another report from the SCSO notes that at about 11:30 p.m. on Monday, July 3, Nick Stadler watched a man get into his tan, 1983 jeep while it sat in his driveway, and drive off in it, headed south.

According to the report, Deputy Erin Fazendin saw the jeep pull out of the Stadler's driveway and head south toward Boulder. The Deputy stopped the stolen car at the Pole Creek intersection with highway 191.

Dep. Fazendin saw the suspect get out of the car. Taking cover behind the door of the police car, Dep. Fazendin ordered the suspect, who was walking backwards with his hands behind his back, to put his hands over his head and continue to walk towards the sound of the Deputies voice.

At this point, Deputy Scott Winer arrived and the suspect, later identified as 28 year-old Brian Palcher of Overland Park, Kansas, was advised to get on his knees and cross his legs. When Mr. Palcher tried to comply, he lost his balance and tipped over. While the Deputies handcuffed Mr. Palcher and secured the car, Mr. Palcher was rather insistent that he was a former Kansas City police officer who was just in town to hike with his wife in the Wind Rivers. He noted that his wife was at the Best Western Motel at the other end of town.

After the vehicle was returned to the Stadlers, Sgt. Raftery, with Deputies Winer and Fazendin went to the Best Western to find Mrs. Palcher, who met them in the hallway outside of her room.

In the report, Mrs. Palcher said that her husband had left "to go to the bar and smoke a cigar." She said that her husband had been gone for several hours and confirmed that they were here to hike in the mountains. Dep. Fazendin's report noted that Mrs. Palcher seemed to be surprised that her husband would take a car, because he was a cop and had never done anything like that before.

After a bit of searching, the Sheriff's office was able to locate the Palchers car outside of Stockman's, and using a set of keys that was found at the Stadlers, Dep. Fazendin locked the car for the night and returned to the jail.

After finding that Mr. Palcher had become ill in the "Rubber room" of the jail, Dep. Fazendin asked the suspect if he would submit to field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer, as a "strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was emitting from Palchers breath and person." Mr. Palcher refused, and was than booked into the jail and issued a citation for DUI and Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. The next day he was sentenced in Judge Crow's court to 30 days in jail, all suspended, and two years of probation.

Finally, at 2:48 a.m. on Sunday, July 9, Scott Moon, 27 of Idaho Falls, Idaho, who had just been issued a citation for fighting in public, called the SCSO because someone had apparently stolen his car. After a moment or two, the SCSO noted that Mr. Moon's car was right where he parked it, a block or two away from where he had been looking for it.

After this rash of auto thefts, the SCSO advises residents to lock their car doors, even when the car is sitting in the driveway.

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