By Sarah Pridgeon
The Sheriff’s Department was instrumental in preventing a potential tragedy this week, arresting an ex-resident of Crook County who returned to the area in a stolen car bearing an arsenal of guns and ammunition. The suspect’s intentions are thus far unknown.
“If we’d handled it wrong, or not done our jobs properly, this could have been tragic,” commented Sheriff Steve Stahla, who responded to the initial situation along with Undersheriff Tom Adams. The suspect, 20-year-old Adam Feist originally of Newcastle, is now in custody.
Feist, who was involved in a high speed car chase in Weston County in 2010 and is thought to be involved in several local misdemeanors, allegedly returned to Wyoming from Pennsylvania at the weekend. He was arrested in possession of three rifles, two of which were reportedly stolen, including an AK-47 and AR-15, military style clothing and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
“We don’t know what he was planning to do,” said Stahla.
A teletype was sent out from New York State police on January 13 regarding a stolen vehicle containing two stolen rifles and a large amount of ammunition. Information was received the following day from a local citizen that a vehicle matching the description was parked at a residence in the Keyhole area.
Stahla and Adams surveilled the area while Gillette police picked up a second resident of the building, who confirmed that Feist was inside with a third tenant. He claimed that Feist had told them he was on leave from the military.
“The house was close to the county road and there was a civilian inside, which could have led to a possible hostage situation,” said Stahla. “We were making sure to plan for the worst.”
Consequently, extra support was called in from the department and Stahla contacted Gillette’s Chief of Police to request the aid of the S.W.A.T. team. Before the team could leave Gillette, however, a red Dodge pick-up pulled up to the premises and the driver began helping Feist load his belongings.
Both the pick-up and the stolen vehicle left the residence, turning shortly afterwards into Keyhole State Park, where the stolen car was abandoned against a barbed wire fence. With State Trooper Billy Quade and four additional members of the Sheriff’s Department now also in pursuit, the decision was made to stop the vehicle in the interstate, where there was less chance of the suspect escaping into the woods or a residence.
At milepost 167 of I90, heading east, a felony traffic stop was performed. The suspect was taken into custody without incident and will now serve out his probation in Crook County while extradition proceedings take place to return him to New York State, where he was allegedly involved with a burglary.
“I would like to personally thank Highway Patrol, Gillette Police Department, New York State Police and local agencies,” said Stahla. “We all worked together, and it worked out well.”