State Briefs

Riverton police officer charged with shoplifting

RIVERTON (WNE) — The Riverton Police Department has played a major role in cracking down on shoplifting at Walmart, but it was one of the department’s own who added to the problem recently.

The Fremont County Attorney’s Office filed 11 shoplifting charges against Officer Bridgette McGinness on March 9.

RPD chief of police Eric Murphy said Friday that McGinness no longer works for the department but would not provide more information.

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations began investigating McGinness after Walmart provided the agency with surveillance tapes that showed McGinness stealing.

The tapes showed that, on 11 different occasions between Nov. 21 and Dec. 19, McGinness manipulated the store’s self-checkout system by pretending to pay for all items when, in fact, she paid for only a portion of the items she left the store with.

According to an affidavit of DCI special agent Brady Patrick, McGinness would alter price tags by bringing in her own UPC bar code. She would scan that code while pretending to scan in the items she was actually stealing.

The self-checkout technology became suspicious before Walmart’s staff did. On two dates in late November, McGinness’s tactics triggered the self checkout’s theft-protection device, but Walmart employees came to her rescue both times, overriding the system and allowing her to continue.

Ultimately, it was Walmart clerk Lorna Clarke who unveiled McGinness’s misconduct.

When McGinness went to a self-checkout register Dec. 7, Clarke watched as McGinness began putting unscanned items into her bag. Clarke then took the unscanned items out of the bag and had them scanned.

Despite being caught, McGinness continued the practice and was caught two more times by Clarke, who voided one of McGinness’s transactions. The officer later complained to a manager that Clarke was “hovering” over her.

Wolves kill two head of cattle near Bondurant

BONDURANT (WNE) – Wolves recently killed two head of cattle – a pregnant cow and a yearling calf – near Bondurant in separate incidents.

The cow was killed on March 5 and found in a private pasture with other cows almost ready to calve. The yearling was killed on March 29 after a large group of heifers and steers was moved to a ranch pasture that had just been occupied by calving cows.

The livestock owners involved in this year’s kills asked to not be identified.

Monday, Wyoming Game and Fish large carnivore biologist Zach Turnbull confirmed the two recent livestock kills by wolves as the first for 2018 in the Pinedale Region and the state’s trophy game area. He declined to provide any more details about the incidents, locations or what pack or packs might have been involved, citing state law.

Game and Fish does not manage the state’s predatory animal population outside the trophy-game area.

State laws allow ranchers to be compensated for livestock kills that are confirmed by Game and Fish to be caused by wolves and grizzlies. Game and Fish compensates livestock owners for these confirmed kills.

Rock Springs man faces dozens of voyeurism charges

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — A local man charged with dozens of counts of felony voyeurism pleaded not guilty to 16 of those counts.

Ryan Michael Flaten, 28, appeared in the Sweetwater County Third District Court of Judge Richard Lavery on Thursday. Lavery set Flaten’s trial for 9 a.m. July 16, 2018.

Last week, Flaten also appeared before Third District Court Judge Nena James and pleaded not guilty to an additional 29 counts of voyeurism and two counts of sexual exploitation of children. James set his trial tentatively for July 9.

It is unknown yet whether these cases will be combined.

The maximum penalty for felony voyeurism is two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Sexual exploitation of children carries a maximum penalty of five to 12 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If convicted on all counts, Flaten could face a maximum prison sentence of 114 years and a $245,000 fine.

His bond was continued.

Flaten is accused of leaving cameras in multiple public places and private residences to secretly capture footage.

According to an affidavit, Lyman Police Officer Kathy Adams met with Sweetwater County Detective Richard Fischer on Jan. 23 about an investigation into a GoPro camera left in a Lyman public restroom. An investigation produced video devices that were downloaded and viewed. Adams believed that some of the videos were taken in Sweetwater County.

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office released images from some of the videos, and several residents came forward and offered identifications.