Shell Lake Police Chief David Wilson has confirmed to DrydenWire.com that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of an Alabama man following the recent break-in at the Shell Lake Cenex (Synergy Co-op) in the early morning hours of November 20, 2017.
Randy L. Hammett, of Birmingham, Alabama has been charged in Washburn County Circuit Court with Class F Felony Burglary of a Building and with Class G Felony Theft of Movable Property, valued at more than $10,000.
According to the criminal complaint, the Shell Lake Police Department (assisted by the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office and other area law enforcement) was able to identify Randy Hammett as the suspect in the break-in after reviewing surveillance video footage and tracking down the owner of the truck which was captured on video.
When officers arrived at the scene after the break-in was reported, they saw that the right side front glass door was completely smashed out. A review of surveillance video showed the suspect taking cigarettes off the shelves. The man then walked over to the safe and removed the cash bags and rolls of change from the safe, which apparently had a defective lock on it.
The criminal complaint states that over $12,000 cash was reported as stolen from the safe in the Cenex store, along with nearly $200 worth of cigarettes.
The Sawyer County Sheriff’s Department was able to confirm the owner of the truck and put that individual in contact with the Shell Lake Police Department. The owner stated that Randy Hammett had used their truck on the night in question. When he returned he had at least one carton of cigarettes. Hammett also reportedly had posted photos on Facebook of $10,000 cash. When questioned about the cash, the truck owner stated that Hammett claimed to have won the cash at the LCO casino. However, the criminal complaint goes on to state that when law enforcement contacted the casino, the casino advised that they keep a record of any wins in excess of $1,200, and they had no such record of Hammett winning.
The owner of the truck also told law enforcement that Hammett had taken a flight back to Alabama and that Hammett said he intended to use the cash to purchase a vehicle.
Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Washburn County Sheriff's Office Seeking Public's Help Identifying Subject
Monday, November 20, 2017 | DrydenWire
The Washburn County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help in identifying the subject pictured after the Shell Lake Cenex was burglarized this morning between 2a and 3a.
Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden said that a "substantial amount of cash was taken from the safe along with some cigarettes. It appears to be a lone male who broke the front door to get in. The photos are not the best quality but do your best and let me know what kind of vehicle you think it is etc. It appears to be a heavier P/U with a white tailgate."
Anyone with information should contact the Washburn County Sheriff's Office at 715-468-4700.