Shell man bound over on four felony charges

by karla pomeroy

The Shell man charged with burglary of the Basin Area Chamber and Basin Pharmacy in May was bound over to district court on all four felony counts.

Judge Thomas Harrington bound Michael McKay Anderson over on two counts of burglary, one count of destruction of property and one count of possession of burglary tools.

He said, “At this point in time I find sufficient probable cause was established by two things — Rocky Mountain Information Network identifying Anderson via tattoos from the surveillance video and photos obtained from Anderson’s Facebook page and from Deputy Travis Davis’ daughter identifying Anderson in the surveillance video.

Big Horn County Deputy Attorney John Frentheway called just one witness during the preliminary hearing, investigating officer Big Horn County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Davis. Davis responded to the Basin Pharmacy on May 4 when he received a call from dispatch about a motion alarm. He said the sheriff’s office was covering Basin for the Basin Police while officers were gone for various reasons.

He said he saw nothing and awaited the owners of the pharmacy to arrive with a key. He said upon entering he saw shelves moved, pills on the floor and hole in the wall going into the chamber building adjacent to the pharmacy. He said he did not know the exact size of the hole but it was a “pretty big hole.”

The scene was photographed and they reviewed surveillance footage. He said they found a bead breaker, which is a sledge hammer with a wedge outside in the back of the pharmacy and notice red brick dust from the brick wall that was broken out between the pharmacy and the chamber. They also found a Snap-On pry bar inside.

Davis testified that the subject who broke into the chamber and then the pharmacy appeared to be after pills with two bottles of prescription pain medicine taken.

He said neither the pharmacy owners nor anyone at the chamber gave permission for someone to enter the building early Sunday morning and no one had permission to break a hole into the wall.

In order to identify Anderson, Davis testified that a video was sent to RMIN and videos are also being processed by the FBI for facial recognition.

He said of the four cameras the pharmacy had at the time, three show the suspect including a frontal view when the suspect is outside on a cell phone looking into the building.

He testified that when viewing the videos at his home his daughter walked by and asked why he had Mike Anderson on video. He said he had suspicions prior to that the suspect was Anderson.

He said investigator Keri Wilske went on Facebook and found a picture of Anderson showing an injured ankle but it also showed a tattoo on his calf and a report from RMIN says the person on Facebook and the person on the surveillance video is the same person with the same tattoo.

“That was more confirmation the suspect was Mike Anderson,” he said.

Davis said the first count of burglary was breaking into the chamber where the suspect allegedly pried the back door open. Davis said several false ceiling panels were popped up in various places, which he believed was the suspect checking to see if there was a way over the pharmacy.

The second count of burglary was the breaking through the wall into the pharmacy, Davis said. He said the video shows a suspect coming from the approximate area of the hole.

The destruction of property was the wall, with an estimated cost of repair of $1,400.

The charge of possession of burglary tools was the possession of the pry bar and bead breaker. Davis said the tools are normally used by mechanics or in construction.

Anderson’s attorney Brigita Krisjansons argued for dismissal specifically of this charge, stating that the state statute defines burglary tools as those “commonly used” for burglary and testimony was the tools are commonly used by mechanics and contractors.

Under cross-examination Krisjansons questioned Davis about the drugs stolen from the pharmacy. David said they found drug paraphernalia during the execution of search warrants and the drugs are in a locker waiting to be processed.

“The investigation is not complete,” he said.

He said they found a pop can with two pills in it but they have also not been tested and it is unknown if they are from the missing bottles.

She asked, “Is it fair to say you didn’t find any of the pills stolen from the pharmacy?” Davis replied, “Not with the identifying marks, no.”

She said 1,000 pills is a lot of pills and it would be reasonable to assume you would find some that shortly after a burglary. Davis testified that none of the pills have been recovered to his knowledge.

She asked why higher-dose narcotics were not taken and Davis replied they were locked up and the others were readily available.