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Austin George Toner

Austin George Toner

RUPERT — A Heyburn man stole $2,000 worth of equipment from the new Rupert Police Department then bragged about it on social media, police say.

Austin George Toner, 22, is charged with felony grand theft, felony burglary and misdemeanor petit theft.

Toner, an employee of the construction company working on the new department, stole tools and a cabinet Feb. 8 from the police department at 633 Fremont Ave., court records say. Toner was arrested June 14.

In late February, two women came to police to report that Toner was talking on social media about burglarizing the department. Detectives received a search warrant for the social media account and found Toner had talked to several individuals about the event.

“I robbed the police station in Rupert,” he wrote. The person he was corresponding with told him to delete the conversation, which Toner did not do, police said. Toner also wrote that he was not “tripping about it” because he was wearing full body coverage, rubber gloves and had on a respirator to catch any DNA evidence.

He also wrote that he “hardwired” the alarm system when he was doing construction work at the building and he learned where the blind spots were for the camera system.

“We had no choice but to be smooth and fast haha…,” he wrote.

The post also had a video attached to it, which showed the stolen items in a chicken coop where Toner had personal belongings, police said.

Two other men were named but have not been charged. One of the men implicated Toner in the theft.

Police said no one forced their way into the building, and the construction company employees were in charge of locking up.

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After the theft, police said, several employees working on the building failed to show up for work.

When interviewed by police, Toner initially said he was just waiting in the car outside the station when one of the other workers loaded items into the car that he said were given to him. Toner said the man later sold the items that included an unassembled metal locking cabinet, a saw and tools valued at $2,040.98. But police said, they recovered a receipt in Toner’s name from a Rupert pawn shop for the same type of saw that was stolen from the police station.

The items belonged to the police department, the city of Rupert’s maintenance department and the construction company.

A preliminary hearing is set for June 27 in Minidoka County Magistrate Court.

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