By Sarah Pridgeon
Sundance resident Courtney Laird has been found guilty of one felony count of accessory before the fact to commit burglary at the Subway restaurant in April. Laird is thought to have given Thomas O’Connor a “tour” of the premises that enabled him to later break in and take just under $900 in cash.
According to police reports, the employee who opened Subway on April 19 discovered that the cash drawers had been emptied, the key to the safe was missing from the drawer in the office and a door on the north side of the garage area had been forced open.
Sundance police officers responded to the report and spoke with the owner. According to court reports, they spoke with Laird, an employee of Subway, who stated that O’Connor had asked to see what the back area looked like on the evening before at around 5:30 p.m.
According to reports, the door believed to be the point of entry could be seen from the “tour” area. A total of $893.53 was allegedly found to be missing in cash and coin, including bills from the cash drawer, bank bags and cash drops from the safe.
On April 22, a Weston County Sheriff’s Office deputy recovered backpacks with numerous items bearing the Subway logo and bank bags. The items had been found by a fisherman partially submerged in LAK Lake near Newcastle.
One of the backpacks allegedly had “O’Connor” written on it. Other items inside included clothing, paperwork, a hammer head and screwdriver and “several rocks”.
On May 4, Laird confirmed in an interview that she is friends with O’Connor but denied having seen any of the recovered evidence before. During the interview, officers suggested the burglary had occurred with some knowledge of what goes on inside the Subway: the burglar knew how to get in, where to get in, what route to take, where the key was and where the money was.
Laird stated that she “did not know where the key was” until after the burglary. The owner of Subway later disputed this, saying that Laird “had to know” where the keys were kept.
Police later interviewed another Subway employee, who stated she had been present for the “tour” and that O’Connor and Laird were back in the “Old Mill” area for considerably longer than the three minutes Laird had claimed, estimating the tour to have taken closer to 15 minutes.
On May 10, police interviewed O’Connor. According to interview transcripts, O’Connor claimed he had only recently heard about the burglary and that it had been Laird’s idea to show him the “Old Mill” area.
O’Connor allegedly claimed he had only been in the back area for a maximum of two minutes and had only reached the area where the flowers and refrigerators are. He denied having seen the backpacks before, even when shown the “O’Connor” name written on the back of one of them, and denied that any of the clothing recovered belonged to him.
O’Connor denied having anything to do with the burglary, telling Patterson that, “This whole thing is not my type of crime”.
O’Connor still faces felony counts of burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary and one misdemeanor count of theft. Laird was found guilty of one felony count of accessory before the fact to commit burglary; the court will defer its entry of judgment on this count and has placed Laird on supervised probation for five years.