An affidavit of probable cause filed in support of the charges alleges that Hallman confessed the burglary to Powell police and that his sweatshirt and shoe prints were found at the scene.
Powell Drug’s alarm was tripped at 4:20 a.m. on Jan. 4. Responding officers, arriving soon after the initial alarm, found that the downtown drug store’s front door had been broken from the inside by an antique stove, wrote Officer Michael Hall in the affidavit. The intruder apparently gained access to the building from air ducts on the roof, the document says.
Police found a Daytona Beach, Fla., sweatshirt lying next to the opened duct and later posted pictures of it around Powell.
Though responding officers saw no one in or around the building, police did stop a vehicle near Powell Drug. Hallman was in that vehicle and was spoken to by police, Hall wrote, but officers apparently found no reason to detain him.
However, on Jan. 8, a police informant told authorities they’d heard from Hallman’s girlfriend’s sister that he had broken into the drug store, says Hall’s affidavit. In a Monday interview with Hall, the sister reportedly said she owned the sweatshirt found at the scene, but had lent it to her sister (Hallman’s girlfriend) and had seen Hallman wearing it.
On Tuesday night, police interviewed Hallman. He initially denied any involvement with the break-in, but became nervous when asked to show the bottom of his shoes, Hall wrote.
The imprint appeared very similar to the prints found on the roof of Powell Drug, Hall said, and Hallman was placed under arrest.
While in custody at the Powell police station, Hallman admitted to having scoped out Powell Drug on two prior occasions, the affidavit said. A rock was thrown through the store’s back door on Dec. 27, but the affidavit does not specifically mention that incident.
“Hallman said he is addicted to prescription pills,” wrote Officer Hall. Hallman told police that, on the morning of Jan. 4, he was drunk and badly needing pills and broke into Powell Drug looking for medication, the affidavit says.
However, the store’s audible alarm went off when he exited the duct work and, finding the store’s rear doors locked, he panicked, broke out the front door and fled, says the affidavit. It appeared nothing was stolen.
At his initial appearance in Circuit Court on Wednesday, Hallman was appointed a public defender to represent him.
Citing “a little bit of a criminal history in Wyoming,” some out-of-state ties and an active Washington state warrant apparently related to a conviction for driving with a suspended license, Deputy Park County Attorney Tim Blatt asked for Hallman’s bail to be set at $25,000 cash. Hallman didn’t object when given the opportunity to speak.
“Seems appropriate to me as well,” said Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters, accepting Blatt’s request.
Hallman said he’s lived in Park County nearly all of his life and currently is unemployed.
A preliminary hearing, to determine if there’s enough evidence for the case to go to trial, is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 26.
In a Wednesday news release, Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt said there’s an ongoing investigation to identify others who may have been involved with the break-in.
The chief added that Powell police and agencies across the region have seen a sharp increase in prescription drug abuse over the past several years.
“This case is another reminder of the prescription drug problem in and around our communities,” he said.
Often prescription narcotics are stolen from people with valid prescriptions by family members or acquaintances, he said.
Eckerdt asked residents to take extra precautions to protect their prescriptions and discard unused or expired medications, noting that Powell police can accept and destroy those materials.