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Two arrested in connection with $15,000 construction site burglary

Crime Watch

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POCATELLO — Two Pocatello men have been arrested following a jobsite burglary where more than $15,000 worth of tools and equipment was stolen.

Travis James Schmidt, 30, was taken into custody July 9 after he allegedly pawned a drill matching one stolen from a tool box on the construction site at Pocatello High School. He has since been charged with felony burglary, court documents show.

Pocatello Police reports show officers were contacted about the thefts by a plumbing and HVAC company around 9 a.m. on July 6. The alleged burglary occurred some time between 4 p.m. on July 2 and 8:45 a.m. on July 6, an affidavit of probable cause reads. Representatives from the company told officers someone had entered a gate at the jobsite, went into the construction area and took numerous items from a tool box belonging to the company.

Among the items reported missing were a Hilti hammer drill, several other drills and bits, a grinder, saws, batteries and chargers, and scrap copper. The total value of the items amount to well over $15,000, according to the affidavit.

While notifying local pawn shops of the stolen items, officers were informed a Hilti hammer drill matching the description of the one stolen had been pawned around 10:30 a.m. on July 5.

Officers matched the serial number on the pawned drill to the one that had been reported stolen. The item was returned to the company.

The pawn shop provided officers with the identification of the woman who brought the stolen drill in for pawn, adding she was accompanied by a man, later identified as Schmidt.

Police were again contacted by the pawn shop on July 9 with reports the couple had returned.

Officers arrived and approached the couple for questioning.

The woman told officers she was unaware of the theft, explaining Schmidt had told her he received new employment with a local contractor and was upgrading his tools. She told officers she pawned the drill for Schmidt as he did not have a valid ID card. She was allowed to leave without arrest.

Schmidt told officers he had found the drill “stashed behind some bushes” along the railroad track near Bannock Highway. After being shown video of the burglary, Schmidt “hung his head,” according to police reports, then admitted to being present at and assisting in the theft.

Stephen Lee Plant
Stephen Lee Plant | Bannock County Jail

He told officers that he was joined by a man known to him as “Steve” inside the site, and the two were driven away by a man he knew as “Mark.”

Schmidt was taken into custody and booked at the Bannock County Jail.

Officers identified “Steve” as 29-year-old Stephen Lee Plant. As of July 16, the identity of “Mark” has yet to be confirmed, though officers do have suspects.

Officers responded to Plant’s residence, receiving permission from the owner of the home to search the property. Nothing linking Plant to the burglary was found during the search, but Plant was taken into custody after officers found him to be in possession of drugs.

He was booked into custody at Bannock County Jail, and has been charged with felony possession of a controlled substance.

Should the two men be found guilty of current charges, Schmidt would face a prison sentence of one to 10 years and fines up to $50,000 while Plant would face up to seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000.

Schmidt is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on July 20. Plant is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 19.