Man charged with stealing and wrecking NAPA truck in Riverton

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Michael Lynn Townsend, 27, has been charged with the June theft and subsequent wreck of a NAPA Auto Parts vehicle from Riverton.

Townsend has been charged with two felonies, Larceny and Wrongful Taking or Disposing of Property. Both charges are punishable to up to 10 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines each. An arraignment date in Wyoming’s Ninth District Court has not yet been set.

The affidavit in case was written by Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Jessie Jackson. The case stems from a one vehicle rollover on Highway 135 that Jackson was called to at 5:40 a.m. on June 10.

“Once on scene, Trooper Jackson observed a blue Dodge Dakota with a Napa logo on the door on the west side of the road in the ditch,” states the affidavit. “The vehicle had rolled and was unoccupied and there were no occupants in or around the vehicle. Trooper Jackson located a white tennis shoe, a ball cap, and a cell phone beside the vehicle.”

The affidavit notes that Sheriff’s Deputy JD Darnell arrived on scene and told Jackson that earlier that morning had given a man a ride to the Split Rock Cafe in Jeffrey City after the man come to his door and asked to use a phone. “Deputy Darnell returned to the cafe and stayed with the male subject until Trooper Jackson arrived,” Jackson wrote.

An employee of the NAPA store in Riverton reportedly told a Trooper that the vehicle was stolen from the business on the 200 block of South Federal Boulevard between 4:30 and 5 a.m. that morning.

According to the affidavit, back at the Cafe Townsend told investigators that he and his girlfriend were headed to Rawlins when they got into an argument and she left him on the side of the road without shoes. Jackson wrote that he observed dust and glass in Townsend’s hair, as well as a small cut on his forehead. Townsend allegedly said he had not showered for a while. The troopers then reportedly asked Townsend to give them some phone numbers of people they could call to help him. All of the numbers he gave them were in the phone found at the scene, Jackson wrote.

Townsend was then confronted about the phone.

“Michael Townsend gave many different accounts of what happened that morning, first stating that he and his girlfriend got into a fight and she left him,” states the affidavit. “Michael townsend then changed his story and stated he got in the vehicle with his friend Mark Hernandez and his girlfriend followed them. Michael Townsend then stated he was left at Walmart by a male and female friend, but he didn’t know their names. Michael Townsend then stated that he walked from Walmart and was picked up by Hernandez in the stolen truck. While Trooper Jackson was in the room, the treating physician, Dr. Rangitsch, asked Michael Townsend what had happened to cause his injuries and Michael Townsend stated that he had rolled a truck and has serious road rash on his left side.”

When asked if Townsend’s finger prints could be found on the steering wheel of the vehicle, Townsend allegedly said yes they would because he grabbed the wheel when his friend lost control of the vehicle. Jackson states in the affidavit that there was no evidence to show that anyone else was in the vehicle or involved in the wreck.

Damage to the truck was estimated at $3,500.