Alleged Burglars Scatter When Caught In Act By Gun-Wielding Casper Homeowner

Three Casper-area men with criminal histories were in court Tuesday on allegations they tried to steal a welder from a shed, but scattered when the homeowner — armed — caught them in the act.

Dale Killingbeck

April 03, 20246 min read

The Townsend Justice Center in Casper.
The Townsend Justice Center in Casper. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

April Fools’ Day turned out to be no joke for three Casper area men — one allegedly armed — who were confronted by an armed homeowner as they tried to take a welder out of a backyard shed.

During their initial appearance in Casper Circuit Court on Tuesday, Jordan Lee Bernard, 32, had bond set at $200,000 cash, while Jordan Lee Schmidt, 30, and Christopher Raines, 25, had their bonds set at $50,000 cash or surety.

Bernard, arrested by Casper police for the alleged attempted theft Monday at a home in the 3100 block of South Coffman, had been free on a $50,000 bond on a pending aggravated assault charge. Schmidt and Raines, who were arrested with Bernard, also have criminal histories.

Bernard faces charges of aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of burglar’s tools. Schmidt is charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, and Raines with conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of burglar’s tools.

They Wanted That Welder

Court records show Casper police were called to a South Coffman residence about 5:30 p.m. Monday after a female homeowner reported a burglary in progress.

The woman, who had armed herself, told police the welder belonged to her husband and that when she confronted the men, “they fled the scene,” according to an arrest affidavit.

The woman had been called by her husband who was out of state telling her that Bernard and Schmidt might try to steal the welder. The husband was given the welder by Schmidt as payment for a debt, the affidavit states.

In recent weeks, Schmidt had allegedly asked for the welder back in trade for something else and the husband had agreed to discuss the issue once back in town. He never heard back from Schmidt, but recently had items stolen from his truck and suspected Schmidt, the affidavit states.

So, he secured the welder in his backyard shed with a board and screws across the door as he took another trip out of town, the affidavit states.

She Goes After Them

The wife told police that after the call from her husband, she looked out the back window of her home and saw Schmidt and Bernard carrying the welder out of her backyard.

“She ran out the back door with a gun in her hand, telling the men to get off her property,” the affidavit states.

The woman told police she recognized Schmidt because he had worked for her husband. She told police that after the men left, she saw that they removed a piece of wood that was securing the shed door.

The woman’s daughter, who followed her mother out the door, told police she recognized Schmidt and Bernard, and that Bernard was holding a drill in one hand and small black pistol in the other pointed at the ground. She took video of their truck, including the license plate number, the affidavit states.

Doorbell camera evidence showed the men had been at the home earlier in the afternoon and left. The woman said she believed they left to get a drill to get the wood off the door, the affidavit states.

The Arrest

Police arrested the suspects in the truck a short time later in the 400 block of North Conwell. A fourth man was in the white Nissan Titan, but after being interviewed was released because had just obtained a ride from Raines, who drove, the affidavit states.

Along with allegedly trying to steal the welder, the license plate on the truck did not return as a Nissan, but a 2018 red Chevy truck, the affidavit states.

Police interviews with the suspects led to Bernard stating that he “was tired of living the way he had been living” and wanted to talk.

The affidavit states Bernard told police that initially he and Raines went to the home at the direction of Schmidt to collect the welder. When no one answer the door, he went to the backyard and noticed the shed was boarded shut. He and Raines returned to Raines’ residence to get a drill.

“While Raines was getting the drill, Bernard stated he collected a pistol from a location he wished to keep anonymous, and returned to Raines’ home with the pistol,” the affidavit states. “Bernard felt there could be an altercation, and need the pistol for protection.”

The men picked up Schmidt at Motel 6 and went to the home, where Raines unscrewed the board. Bernard said he and Schmidt then opened the shed and were carrying the welder when confronted by the homeowner.

Bernard said he then walked to the truck and got the pistol, but never pointed it at anyone, the affidavit states.

The affidavit states Raines was found with a drill bit in his pocket matching the style of bit needed to unscrew the board from the shed door.

Two Bits And A Pistol

Casper police secured a search warrant for the Nissan and found a drill with a bit size slightly smaller than the one in Raine’s front shirt pocket “and that style needed to remove the screws in question.”

“A black 9 mm Sarsilmaz ST10 pistol was located hidden under the middle area of the back seat,” the affidavit states. “Detectives were unable to locate any kind of registration or insurance for the vehicle or any paperwork indicating ownership.”

Jordan faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of not more than $50,000 for aggravated burglary involving a deadly weapon or simulated deadly weapon. He also faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000 for conspiracy to commit burglary. Additionally, Jordan faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000 for possession of burglar’s tools.

Schmidt and Raines both face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for the conspiracy to commit burglary charge and Raines also faces three years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000 for the possession of burglar’s tools charge.

All three men remain incarcerated in the Natrona County Detention Facility.

In addition to the pending aggravated assault charge, Bernard has been convicted on three charges of possession of a controlled substance, discharging a firearm, felony property damage and criminal trespass, as well as violating probation.

Schmidt has convictions on shoplifting, possession of controlled substances, theft of services and vehicle insurance and registration violations.

Raines has convictions on possession of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated.

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at

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Dale Killingbeck


Killingbeck is glad to be back in journalism after working for 18 years in corporate communications with a health system in northern Michigan. He spent the previous 16 years working for newspapers in western Michigan in various roles.