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Gun missing from theft in Bayfield
7/27/2007 By: Carole McWilliams
Bayfield resident Johnny Lee Powers is in jail after allegedly stealing three pistols from a house on Tamarack Dr. early Sunday morning after a party there.
The Bayfield Marshal’s Office found out about it after a 911 call from a clerk at the Conoco-Giant station about a possible armed robbery in progress. That was at around 4:49 a.m. Sunday.
Wildfires earlier this month in
Mancos and Utah made for some
spectacular sunsets, including
this one seen from CR 509 in Bayfield.
According to an affidavit from Marshal’s Deputy Nate Leikip, the clerk told Central Dispatch that a man came into the station carrying a gun. He was gone when Leikip arrived.
The clerk told Leikip that the gun was locked in the business’s office, that the suspect was very drunk and had left on foot, headed west on Highway 160B. Leikip went to look for him.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived and took up the search, while Leikip went back to the Conoco. He got the pistol, a .22 cal. revolver. All six rounds had been fired. The clerk reported the suspect never pointed the gun at him or anyone else.
The clerk said that as the man came in, he fell over a wet floor caution sign, got up, and set the gun on the counter by the coffee machines. Then he went over to the fountain drinks and left after buying one. He left the gun on the counter. The clerk locked it in the office.
Leikip reported in his affidavit that a customer who overheard this discussion said he had seen a man who fit the suspect’s description on East Street. Leikip relayed that to the sheriff’s deputies.
They found the suspect on South Street and Church Street. Leikip arrived and recognized Powers, 54. He lives in a house at that intersection.
Leikip said Powers fit the very detailed description he’d been given and appeared to be drunk. Powers denied knowing anything about the incident at the Conoco, although he acknowledged buying a soda there 30 to 45 minutes earlier.
Marshal’s Deputy Gary Maestas arrived then and asked Powers where he got the gun. Powers said he found it at the Conoco. The sheriff’s deputy took Powers to jail.
According to Leikip’s affidavit, Maestas then talked to Powers’ wife Andrea. She said they had been at a party on Tamarack the night before. She left at around 11 p.m. and her husband stayed. She hadn’t seen him between then and the arrest.
Maestas then went to the house at 1525 Tamarack, owned by Lori Purdy. She reported three guns had been stolen. She said Powers was the last one still awake after the party. He left at some point, and the guns were missing.
Maestas searched the area and found one gun, along with Powers’ hat, glasses, and cellphone, on Bayfield Center Drive by the 1st National Bank. That gun, a .22 Thompson Contender pistol with scope, was not loaded.
The gun left at the Conoco also was one of Purdy’s.
The third pistol is still missing, a fully loaded Ruger .44 magnum revolver. Bayfield deputies have been searching for it for fear that kids might find it.
It might be in a brown leather holster.
If anyone finds it, deputies ask people not to touch it, but notify them right away.
Bayfield Marshal Jim Harrington said that after his arrest, Powers told sheriff’s deputies it had been his intention to kill his wife and then himself, but he had shot all the bullets.
Harrington said Powers shot through the garage door at Purdy’s house from the inside, and the bullet hit the tire on a car outside. He didn’t know where the other shots were fired or why no one apparently heard them.
He said Powers is thought to have spent at least three hours getting from the house on Tamarack to the Conoco. Maestas found where he had fallen on East Cedar Dr. as well as by the bank. The clerk described Powers as being falling down drunk, Harrington said.
Powers was arrested on charges of class 4 felony theft, class 6 felony possession of a weapon by a previous offender, and class 2 misdemeanor prohibited use of a weapon
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