Two charged with local robbery

By Sarah Pridgeon

Thomas O’Connor and Courtney Laird face felony charges connected to a break-in at Subway that took place in April. Laird is thought to have given 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.

Police Chief Marty Noonan and Officer Welchie Patterson responded to the report and spoke with the owner. According to court reports, Patterson 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.

Laird allegedly stated that she and O’Connor had only been back in the area for around three minutes. Patterson noted that 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, Patterson was advised that Deputy Steve Annets of Weston County had 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 included items of clothing, paperwork, a hammer head and a screwdriver and “several rocks”.

On May 4, Patterson and Noonan interviewed Laird. According to interview transcripts, Laird confirmed that she is friends with O’Connor but denied having seen any of the recovered evidence before.

During the interview, Patterson suggested that 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 denied that O’Connor had ever worked at the store and stated that she “did not know where the key was” until after the burglary. The owner of Subway later confirmed that Laird “had to know” where the keys were kept.

Patterson later interviewed another Subway employee, who claimed that her husband had heard a rumor while at work for an oil field company that O’Connor and Laird had staged the burglary and split the money. She also claimed that 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.

The employee also stated that Laird had told her she had an alibi for the time of the burglary. According to interview transcripts, Patterson questioned why she would need an alibi if she was not involved.

On May 10, Patterson 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 by Annets 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 has been charged with felony counts of burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary and one misdemeanor count of theft. Laird has been charged with felony counts of conspiracy to commit a burglary and accessory before the fact.

All four felony counts carry maximum penalties of ten years’ incarceration, a $10,000 fine or both.