Cody Abe Winterbottom | Courtesy Chubbuck Police Department
CHUBBUCK — A Shelley man could face up to 15 years in prison for allegedly breaking into the Chubbuck CAL Ranch store in December.
At the end of last year, Cody Abe Winterbottom, 22, was charged with burglary, a felony that carries with it a prison term of one to 10 years, and fines up to $50,000. Along with the burglary charge, prosecutors attached a persistent violator enhancement, which carries an additional penalty of at least five years.
Police reports show at about 6:15 a.m., on Dec. 19, officers from the Chubbuck Police Department and Bannock County Sheriff’s Office responded to multiple security alarms at the CAL Ranch store at the Pine Ridge Mall, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
The alarms, which included motion detection at the gun counter in the store, were initiated at the bay doors in the rear of the building. Upon arriving at the store, officers noticed one of the bay doors had been opened, and been propped up using an unopened generator. Because motion had been detected at the gun counter, responding officers called for backup before searching the store.
While searching the store, officers found a man, later identified as Winterbottom, hiding in a clothing rack. Officers noted the shelves, which normally held generators had been cleared.
After contacting the store’s management, officers were able to confirm that the bay door had been opened and several generators had been removed from their location in the store.
No firearms had been removed from the gun counter, though video surveillance later showed Winterbottom examining the locks on the gun display, according to the affidavit.
During interrogation, Winterbottom allegedly admitted to loading a welder and several generators — he was unable to recall an exact number — on a handtruck and taking them to the bay door he had opened.
Video surveillance also showed at least one other person with Winterbottom at the store that morning. But he told officers he had acted alone. When asked if he would be willing to unlock his phone, Winterbottom declined. No one else was found in the store. Winterbottom also told officers that he had consumed methamphetamines and heroin that morning.
Winterbottom’s record includes nearly two dozen prior charges, primarily for petit theft and minor drug possession.
He was released from jail on his own recognizance in December and is scheduled for a jury trial on July 13.