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Police: Drug possession among charges against walled-up thief

Court-ordered punishments for drug-related convictions in Colorado can be harsh but even when they are not severe, personal and professional aftereffects can be. A criminal record can evaporate employment, housing and educational opportunities. Some cases grow even more complicated when defendants are charged with drug offenses in addition to other allegations.

A man's cries were heard but initially dismissed by employees working in a Boulder County strip mall. Eventually, Marshalls' employees in Longmont realized someone was calling from inside a store wall and contacted emergency responders. Rescuers used a heavy-duty saw to extract a dehydrated 35-year-old man, who apparently had been trapped between an inner and outer wall for several days.

Longmont police said the Westminster man desperately attempted to find a solution to his dilemma, after suffering back and knee injuries during a fall of about 20 feet. The man had climbed upon the roof at Marshalls and fell through a roof vent. Attempts to slide notes for help beneath the walls were unsuccessful.

Authorities stated the confined man botched a burglary attempt. He was arrested after several days of hospitalization and charged with multiple crimes including criminal tampering, trespassing, second-degree burglary, criminal mischief and methamphetamine possession. Investigators said drugs and property stolen from another location were found in the defendant's vehicle, parked behind the Longmont store.

The man confessed he tried to silence Marshalls' burglar alarm by cutting power to the store. Police said several strip mall businesses experienced heating and electrical difficulties while the defendant was walled up at Marshalls. The defendant's record included a string of convictions for theft, robbery, criminal mischief, DWAI and assault.

As damaging as drug convictions can be for defendants, penalties are far worse when combined with multiple charges and a criminal history. These conditions are challenging for criminal defense attorneys but not impossible to mitigate. Depending upon circumstances, charge dismissals or reductions are possible.

Source: Daily Camera, "Man freed from inside wall faces several charges" John Bear, Times-Call, Nov. 16, 2014

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