Judge Dismisses Case of Alleged Accomplice in Garage Burglary
A judge dismissed charges against a Casper woman who allegedly worked with a man accused of multiple burglary-related counts during her preliminary hearing in Natrona County Circuit Court last week.
Amber Sue Carpin, born in 1989, was charged with theft and accessory before the fact when she helped Dylan O'Neal allegedly steal $36,000 worth of cash and other items from a garage in June, according to court documents.
On Tuesday, O'Neal was bound over to Natrona County District Court for trial.
"It was clear that Carpin, knowing that he intended to commit the initial burglary, abetted O'Neal by providing an updated location for the intended victim," according to an affidavit written by Casper detective Ryan Lowry.
That may have been clear in the affidavit, but it wasn't to Circuit Court Judge Michael Patchen at the end of Carpin's preliminary hearing on Dec. 1.
"I lost track," Patchen said. "I'm not going to bind it over."
During the preliminary hearing, Assistant District Attorney Jared Holbrook put Lowry on the stand for questioning.
Lowry recapped what he wrote in his affidavit supporting the charges against Carpin and the case that began in June.
The alleged victim told officers that he was missing a key to one of his vehicles, a car code reader, Rockford Fosgate sub woofers and $35,000.
O'Neal had borrowed a tool bag, had it for a week, and "'accidentally'" discovered the cash in it. Carpin was aware of the money because the victim, allegedly a "'big man'" involved in narcotics, made her count it.
The victim had been in a relationship with Carpin, but had not been dating for two weeks when O'Neal suggested he wanted to rob the garage.
"Carpin 'was like dude, yea,'" according to the affidavit, which added "The theft of the money had been Carpin's idea. She had been angry with [the victim] because he had kept accusing her of stealing from him."
O'Neal later gave Carpin an envelope containing $2,000. She returned $500 - $1,000 to the victim and spent the remaining $1,000 at a "sex store," according to the affidavit.
Then Public Defender Joseph Cole took over to cross-examine Lowry.
The case involved two burglaries, Cole said.
Cole asked Lowry about videos of O'Neal getting into the garage to take the victim's car, and there were either no videos or videos that didn't clearly show what O'Neal did.
Cole also asked why the victim kept $35,000 in the garage and where he got it, to which Lowry said he didn't know.
Citing Carpin's comment, "was like dude, yea," Cole noted that she could have meant agreeing with what O'Neal wanted to do in robbing the garage, or just indifference.
When reviewing apparent contradictory statements, questions about the chronology of the event's the victim's allowing O'Neal to use the garage, Carpin's receiving some of the cash and giving some of it back -- Cole was flummoxed.
"This whole theory is a massive confusion," he said.
Not enough coherent evidence existed to show that Carpin wanted to rob the garage, Cole said.
"I don't think it holds together for probable cause," he said.
Patchen agreed and dismissed the charges against Carpin, but with a caveat.
"Miss Carpin, don't be surprised if they don't refile," Patchen said, adding her bond was discharged.