POCATELLO — A woman who was allegedly found in possession of two vehicles that had been stolen from a towing lot has been charged with eight felonies.
Crystal Ann Midthun, 36, faces charges of malicious injury to property and possession of a controlled substance, as well as two counts of grand theft and four counts of burglary, according to court documents.
Pocatello police received a call reporting two stolen vehicles around 10:45 a.m., according to an affidavit of probable cause.
The vehicles — a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu and a 2011 Dodge Ram — had been taken from a towing lot around 4 a.m.
Upon arrival at the towing company, officers noted “significant damage” to the entry gates. The company provided officers with surveillance video from the lot.
The business owner told the officers that in viewing the footage, they saw two people climb the gates into the lot. One of the people used the Ram, and towing straps taken from one of the tow trucks, to pull the gate open from the inside.
The people were on the lot for around an hour, apparently burglarizing other vehicles, before leaving with the Malibu and Ram, the owner told officers.
Employees of the company told officers that they keep a detailed inventory of all vehicles on their lot. They told officers they would compare their inventory lists to the contents of the vehicles and report anything that had been taken.
Officers were able to rule the owners of the two stolen vehicles out as suspects, after speaking with them.
Pocatello police received a call from a resident on the 1,000 block of Northgate Drive, reporting that one of the stolen vehicles was in the neighborhood.
Officers were able to confirm that a Malibu at the home was the one stolen through the VIN number.
While there, officers were informed that the resident of the home, Midthun, had also been seen driving a white Dodge Ram.
A witness told officers that Midthun had driven one of the vehicles to court that morning, according to the affidavit. And after returning from court, the witness said, Midthun had left again about 30 minutes prior to the arrival of the officers.
The towing company was called to reclaim the Malibu.
With permission of a fellow resident of Midthun’s home, officers searched the property for the Ram. During the search, they found a Toyota truck under a tarp. While the truck was registered to Midthun, the towing company informed the officers that they had a repossession order for that truck.
The towing company took possession the Malibu and Toyota.
During their search of Midthun’s property, a neighbor informed officers that Midthun had just returned to the area. The neighbor said Midthun was driving the Ram, parked it around the corner and was walking home, but turned around and went back to the truck after seeing the officers.
The officers found the Ram at the corner of Sandpiper Drive and Northgate Drive. Midthun was found laying down inside of the truck.
While complying with officers’ commands to exit the truck, Midthun said that the vehicle did not belong to her and that she had been asked to move it, the affidavit says. However, officers found the truck’s registration in Midthun’s wallet.
Employees of the towing company were asked to check both vehicles and compare them to the state they were in while in the company’s possession.
Officers were informed that the Malibu’s driver side had been spray-painted maroon.
The Ram was damaged and missing tools from a tool locker in the bed of the truck, the affidavit shows.
Towing employees told officers that a backpack found in the truck had not been in any of the vehicles in their possession.
Officers searched the backpack and found a syringe and baggies they recognized as those used for drugs. The affidavit shows that officers also found a methamphetamine pipe while searching Midthun.
She was arrested and held for questioning.
Midthun admitted to being one of three people involved in the theft, according to the affidavit.
She said she was with a man and woman she had recently met through drug activity. Midthun told officers that the plan had been to burglarize vehicles on the lot. But, once inside she used the truck and tow straps to force the gate open so they could take the vehicles.
While reviewing the video provided by the towing company, officers noted three people. One, Midthun confirmed, was her, according to the affidavit.
The footage showed Midthun enter a 2013 Dodge Ram truck and take what was later confirmed to be a laptop computer and a tablet.
She was then seen taking items from a Ford van that employees used for tool storage. Employees told officers that a bag of tools was missing from the van.
Employees also told officers that other items, including phone mounts, tools and a tool kit, were taken from the tow trucks.
The towing company provided officers with a written estimate of $5,832 for repairs to the damaged gate.
Using an online service, officers determined the combined values of the two stolen vehicles to be $22,532.
Officers spoke with Midthun’s neighbors, who said that the vehicles had both shown up in the area three days prior. They said that Midthun had been seen driving both vehicles and that she was also seen spray painting the Malibu red.
Although Midthun has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean she committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.
If she is found guilty of all eight felonies, Midthun could face up to 75 years in prison and $225,000 in fines.
She is scheduled to appear in court before magistrate judge Paul Laggis for a preliminary hearing on June 9.
This is the third time Midthun has been arrested in 2022. She also faces felony charges of criminal conspiracy, attempted grand theft, three persistent violator enhancements and two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. She also faces two additional charges of grand theft and another possession of a controlled substance charge.
She previously reached a plea agreement that encompassed all 2022 charges, but a change of plea hearing has been canceled.