Casper Man Accused of Stealing Equipment Worth Over $64,000
The co-owner of a Casper business could face two decades in prison for allegedly stealing a forklift, generator and trailer from a Casper rental shop.
Shawn J. Kouri, 42, is charged with burglary and wrongful taking or disposing of property. He could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count if convicted.
Court documents say Kouri was arrested after Natrona County Sheriff‘s deputies were called Jan. 6 to Horizontal Rentals, Inc., on Ten Mile Road because the perimeter gate was not secure.
The business owner showed up and, upon entering, immediately noticed a large forklift was stolen from inside the building, along with a box generator and a 20-foot lowboy trailer, according to court documents.
Deputies reportedly noted three sets of footprints in the snow, indicating three people were involved. Tire impressions leading to a garage door to the shop indicated that a dually pickup truck could have been used to take the items.
On Jan. 8, a deputy was driving on Salt Creek Highway when he saw a silver Dodge dually pickup pulling a lowboy trailer. On top of the trailer were a standalone generator and a forklift covered by a tarp.
The pickup was stopped in the middle of the highway near the intersection with Salt Creek Parkway. The deputy believed the trailer, forklift and generator might have been those stolen from Horizontal Rentals.
The deputy approached the pickup, court documents say, when Kouri allegedly jumped out and ran.
Deputies caught up and arrested him. The affidavit says Kouri had an outstanding arrest warrant at the time.
The generator on the trailer had allegedly been spray-painted in what appeared to be an attempt to hide or conceal the identifying information on the generator.
In an interview with investigators, Kouri allegedly said he entered Horizontal Rentals through an unlocked door on Jan. 4 in the middle of the night.
Kouri then used the forklift to put the generator on the trailer and put the forklift on the trailer before pulling the trailer away with his pickup, according to the affidavit.
Kouri allegedly said he planned to sell the equipment to a friend in Cheyenne, but he noticed some of it had been listed as stolen on Facebook. He was worried about getting caught because of the social media attention, so he allegedly decided to get rid of the equipment on Jan. 8.
He had planned to leave them on property owned by 71 Construction on Salt Creek Highway, according to court documents.
The lowboy trailer is valued at $4,500; the forklift is valued at $40,000; and the generator is valued at $20,000; the affidavit says.
Kouri made his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Monday. He was appointed a public defender.
Bond was set at $16,000 cash or surety.
The state noted previous charges against Kouri for receiving stolen property in 2010 and for child endangerment as well as possession of methamphetamine in 2008.
Kouri recently failed to appear for a Nov. 30 hearing in a DUI case.
He said he is co-owner of a Casper tree service business.