A Casper man earlier this week kidnapped a person and attempted to make him withdraw money from an ATM, authorities alleged in a set of felony charges filed against the man Friday.
The alleged assailant, Lucas Sanchez, 29, appeared on Friday afternoon in Natrona County Circuit Court, where prosecutors charged him with three felonies. Sanchez did not have an opportunity to enter pleas to the charges during the brief hearing, but he indicated to Judge Brian Christensen that he thought the allegations were unfounded.
“Your honor, this case is entirely absurd,” said Sanchez into a video camera transmitting from Natrona County Detention Center. “I don’t know why I’m charged with all this.”
According to court documents filed in support of the charges, police believe Sanchez ambushed another man when he arrived early Tuesday morning at a Paradise Valley home to meet a woman. Sanchez was romantically involved with the woman and when the man arrived, Sanchez and another man assaulted the alleged victim, according to the documents. After a TV broke during the altercation, the documents state, Sanchez demanded money, took the man’s phone and forced him into a pickup. When they arrived at a Casper bank, the alleged victim took off, making his way to the Wyoming Medical Center, where he talked to police.
Although the documents identify another person as a suspect — and indicate two other men, one named and one unnamed, were involved in the robbery — jail records available Friday morning indicated that nobody else had been arrested in connection with the case. Although the documents allege the involvement of additional assailants, because they have not been charged with a crime the Star-Tribune has decided not to name them.
At his afternoon court appearance, prosecutors charged Sanchez with a single felony count each of kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. He also faces a misdemeanor count of methamphetamine possession and a probation revocation in a separate misdemeanor case. After Sanchez took an oath, he — at first uncertain of his decision — told Judge Brian Christensen that he would contest the probation revocation. Because the new charges include felonies, he will not have a formal opportunity to contest them until a preliminary appearance, which will take place later this month.
When Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri asked Christensen to set bond at $7,500, Sanchez looked to the ceiling of the Natrona County Detention Center before stating he didn’t know the reason for the charges. The judge ordered him to keep from addressing facts of the case, and Sanchez asked for a lower amount of bail. Christensen, though, ordered the $7,500 bond setting and $1,000 cash-only bail in the revocation case.
The court documents filed in support of the charges became available late Friday afternoon. According to the documents, police began investigating the case on Thursday morning when officers arrived at the hospital for a report of an assault. The alleged victim had bruising on his eye and his arm, according to the documents. He told police that he had messaged a woman on Facebook and asked her to hang out; she provided him an address and a friend drove him to the house, the documents state.
The man told police, according to the documents, that Sanchez was at the house with the woman. Sanchez, the documents state, said he was in a dating relationship with the woman and struck the man repeatedly, demanding he empty his pockets. Another man then came between him and the door he was trying to reach, the documents sate.
The three men fell into a TV. The documents allege that Sanchez and the second assailant then punched and kicked the man, who told police he saw flashes when he was struck. When the man offered Sanchez and the second alleged assailant money, the documents state, Sanchez said $500 was not enough to replace the television. The alleged victim told the two men that he could withdraw money from his bank account, the documents state.
Sanchez then took the alleged victim’s cell phone and $100 cash he had with him, according to the documents. A woman and another man then entered the room and, along with the two assailants, directed the man into a Ford F-150, according to the documents. When they arrived at a CY Avenue ATM, the F-150’s window would not roll down. Sanchez allowed the alleged victim out of the truck, the documents state, and the man took off running.
The alleged victim ran to a nearby motel, where he tried to use a phone but could not recall any useful numbers, and a gas station, where he hid out momentarily before walking home, the documents state. He called police and then went to the hospital to have his injuries examined.
Sanchez spoke to police the same morning and said that when the man arrived, he “whooped his ass,” according to the documents. He said, though, that the alleged victim left on his own. Sanchez’s girlfriend told police that she saw the attack, the documents state. She left the room shortly after, and when she returned everybody else had left the home, the documents state she told police.
Surveillance video footage taken at the bank showed the alleged victim run from a red F-150, before a man with a tattoo matching Sanchez’s closes the vehicle’s door, according to the documents.
The Casper Police Department said in a Friday morning press release that detectives are searching for a late 2000s Ford-150 pickup, which is red with running boards and after-market decals on the bottom of the cab that are black and either silver or gray. The police department asked people with information about the alleged crimes to contact Detective Justin Hatcher at 307-233-6622.
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