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Bond $250K for suspects in Sunday's home invasion

May 21, 2014 - From staff reports

The alleged perpetrators of a Sunday evening home invasion and burglary south of Hudson appeared in Lander Circuit Court on Tuesday.

During the hearing, Judge Robert B. Denhardt set bond at $250,000 cash for Bow Hepner, 34, of Casper, and Kelly Meehan, 25, of Gillette, both of whom were arrested in connection with the home invasion.

The incident was reported at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday from a home on Wyoming Highway 789 between Hudson and Lander.

According to reports, Hepner and Meehan had driven to the home and asked the occupants for directions to Rawlins. The victims attempted to give verbal directions, but Meehan and Hepner asked to see a map with more details.

When the suspects were invited into the home, they held the residents "at bay" while ransacking the house, stealing several items including a firearm, according to reports. Afterward, the subjects fled the area heading north toward Riverton. The victims were not injured.

Deputies were called to the scene, where they collected information about Meehan and Hepner and the suspect vehicle. Officials located the vehicle on the south side of Riverton and made contact with the occupants. Hepner fled the area, while Meehan was detained on site after a brief struggle. She was arrested for robbery and on a U.S. Marshall hold.

Officials issued a press release Monday informing the public that Hepner was on the loose and should be considered armed and dangerous. Deputies had last seen him running east along the banks of the Little Wind River near the 789 Smoke Shop and Casino.

Law enforcement tracked and searched for the subject Sunday night through Monday morning, when they planned to acquire a bloodhound to assist in the effort.

Found

A deputy found Hepner at about noon Monday on Wyoming Highway 789 about three miles north of Rendezvous Road. Reportedly he was headed south on foot. Officials said the subject spotted approaching law enforcement and began running west through farm land. He led deputies on a 10-minute foot chase before he was apprehended without further incident. He was arrested for aggravated burglary.

Undersheriff Ryan Lee said the crime that Meehan and Hepner allegedly perpetrated were "out of the ordinary" for Fremont County.

"We are happy with the outcome of this investigation," he said in a press release. "No one was injured, and two violent criminals are locked up."

Hepner and Meehan both are incarcerated at the Fremont County Detention Center. During Tuesday's hearing, Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett said he expects to file two charges against Hepner: one for aggravated robbery and another for concealing stolen property worth more than $1,000. Both are felonies.

Charges for Meehan will include felony robbery, felony concealing of stolen property worth more than $1,000 and misdemeanor interference, Bennett said. He is "trying to figure out" whether Meehan was associated with Volunteers of America.

Bennett said there could be a federal hold in place for Hepner, who was listed "on some sort of status" with the VOA in Gillette.

The $250,000 cash bond is appropriate, Bennett said, because Hepner and Meehan do not have ties to the community. He pointed out that the crime also involved a firearm.

Conditions of the bond include an order to avoid contact with one another and with potential witnesses Allen and Joann Matthews.

Bennett did not know whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the case.

"We are basically waiting for the lead detective's report," Bennett said.

Neither defendant had a lawyer Tuesday; Denhardt could appoint a public defender Wednesday. The initial hearing for Hepner and Meehan is scheduled for Wednesday, when they will learn about the charges against them as well as their rights and potential penalties.

-- Staff writer Eric Blom contributed to this report.