Casper Man Faces Trial For Vehicle Thefts; Police Investigate Related Case in Colorado
A Casper man who allegedly stole three vehicles worth $230,000 was bound over to Natrona County District Court for trial on Thursday.
Austin Ideen, 24, waived his preliminary hearing -- in which the state presents probable cause evidence that a crime was committed and the accused did it -- in Natrona County Circuit Court.
A trial date will be set later.
Meanwhile, police have been investigating a related case of a vehicle Ideen sold to a woman in Colorado.
Ideen is charged with three counts of felony theft, possession of a controlled substance, prohibited possession of a firearm, use of a firearm while committing a felony, and interference with a peace officer.
The vehicles are a 2019 black Dodge Durango GT valued at $50,000; a 2018 red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT valued at $100,000; and a 2018 black Dodge Challenger Hellcat valued at $80,000 (the previously estimated value was $90,000), according to a Casper Police affidavit filed with the Natrona County Circuit Court.
The case began at Dec. 28 when a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper tried to stop the Durango on Interstate 25 when it took a Casper exit, according to the affidavit.
The Durango was on display at the Casper Events Center for a sales event, and its owner Fremont Motors informed law enforcement that it and the other two vehicles were missing, too.
After activating its GPS device, the Durango was located on East M Street where officers set up a perimeter. The Jeep soon pulled up next to the Durango.
Officers identified themselves to Ideen, who ran and was caught after an officer and Ideen had fallen through the ice in the river. Ideen had a gold-painted pistol with an obliterated serial number in his front pants pocket. He later said he had the gun for only a few days.
Meanwhile, the Fremont Motors general manager activated the GPS in the Hellcat and located it in Riverton.
After he received treatment for falling in the river, Ideen was released from the hospital and questioned by police.
After several convoluted stories, he was arrested on a warrant from Converse County.
Meanwhile, a Casper detective was interviewing a woman in Castle Rock, Colo., about a separate stolen vehicle case related to the Ideen case, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed Natrona County Circuit Court.
The woman was in possession of a stolen vehicle from Fremont Motors. She said she was a methamphetamine user and bought it from Ideen.
The affidavit did not describe the vehicle, nor did it say how police tracked the vehicle's location to Castle Rock, which is 300 miles from Casper.
The woman said she won $14,000 in cash in a lawsuit. She bought the vehicle for $8,000 and had the remaining $6,000 was kept in a safe she kept in her car.
Soon after she bought the vehicle, she said someone broke into her car and stole the safe.
That safe was found in the stolen Jeep. Police found syringes in the Jeep, too.
The woman described some of the items that might be in safe, not knowing police had it.
The affidavit for the search warrant asked Natrona County Circuit Court to search the safe. which may have contained another gun.