Burglar busts through wall to rob business

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Larry Chandler points out the now patched up hole where a burglar broke through the wall to gain access to Summit Shooting Center.

By Michael Maresh
Journal Staff Writer

A 28-year-old Bluff, Utah man was arrested Tuesday night, Nov. 7 for breaking into a shooting store and stealing three rifles worth almost $1,200.

On Sunday, Nov. 4 at shortly before midnight, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office responded to a burglar alarm south of Cortez at Summit Shooting Center, 23858 County Road G.

Upon arrival, deputies discovered that forced entry was gained into the building and several firearms had been stolen.

While the sheriff’s office would not say what led to the man’s arrest, Darlene Chandler, who owns the Summit Shooting Center with her husband, Larry, said a cell phone was left behind at the business and it belonged to the suspect.

She said both sheriff’s deputies and her husband spotted the cell phone at about the same time.

During the course of the investigation, detectives with the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office developed a person of interest, located that person and obtained a subsequent arrest warrant for second-degree Burglary, a Class 4 felony.

Chaviz Stash is still in custody and is being held on a $4,000 bail, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office is reporting.

Chandler said Stash gained access to the business by going through a wall on the backside of the building between two wall studs that were 16 inches apart from each other.

Before cutting a hole in the wall, Stash is accused of cutting a hole in the fence and smashing a glass door to get into the store, causing about $1,500 in property damage.

She said the burglar alarm sounded when the glass door was broken and dispatch from the sheriff’s office called her and her husband shortly after midnight.

When the Chandlers arrived at the store at 12:36 a.m., police were waiting outside the gate.

The three guns that were stolen were recovered and returned to the Chandlers but they were not in the same condition. She said they were covered with dirt, the stocks were skinned and the aiming sights were off.

Because there was a gaping hole in the wall of the business, the Chandlers stayed at the store that night and the next morning started to clean up the glass and patch the wall.

“I never heard about people going through the wall,” Darlene Chandler said, and added she has since researched it and found this access way for burglars is becoming more popular.

Chandler complimented the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office for the tremendous job they did, and mentioned deputies arrived at their business very quickly.


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