A Walla Walla man accused of ransacking the Walla Walla Bread Company earlier this week appeared Thursday morning in Walla Walla County Superior Court.
Joseph J. Caldwell, 35, was arrested Wednesday for investigation of second-degree malicious mischief. He was an employee at the restaurant when the alleged crime occurred, according to a release.
Walla Walla police Sgt. Eric Knudson said Caldwell was suspected of the crime due to inconsistencies between Caldwell’s statement and surveillance camera footage in the area, among other things.
“Initially, it was the nature of the crime itself,” Knudson wrote in an email. “There was no sign of forced entry, and the building was secure upon arrival but had been ransacked. It did not have the ‘feel’ of a traditional burglary.”
Prosecutors Thursday asked Judge John Lohrmann for a $5,000 bail because of Caldwell’s prior convictions, including fourth-degree assault, malicious mischief, and other misdemeanors. However, attorney Julie Carlson-Straube argued his last infraction was in 2008 and asked for an order of release. Caldwell said he had “two girls at home who desperately need their dad” and he had just lost his job.
Lohrmann allowed him to be released on conditions, including living at the address provided with his mother, having random urinalysis tests done, checking in with his appointed attorney, Jesse Montagnino, and having no contact with witnesses or victims.
“I don’t want you anywhere around that business,” Lohrmann told Caldwell. “And no contact at all with the witnesses or victims.”
Caldwell was concerned about the urine testing.
“Is that for marijuana, too?” he asked. “I probably have it in my system right now. It takes a while to get out of your system.”
On Sunday, police responded to the Walla Walla Bread Company at 201 E. Main St. on possible burglary reports, a release stated. Police saw “the building was secure, but tables and chairs were flipped over and the business appeared ransacked,” the release stated.
The damage was estimated to be between $800 and $1,000.