TWIN FALLS — Two men charged with multiple felonies after impersonating federal agents and stealing from Walmart appeared in court Tuesday.
Thomas Wildman, 38, and Aaron Altes, 44, both had hearings to reduce their bond before Fifth District Judge Roger B. Harris at the Twin Falls County Judicial Annex.
Wildman is charged with three felony counts of burglary, impersonating an officer, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a controlled substance.
Altes faces two felony charges of burglary, impersonating an officer and possession of a controlled substance.
The pair went to Walmart on Cheney Drive on Aug. 29 dressed in black and wearing badges on lanyards around their necks, court documents say. Wildman also carried a pistol in a holster. They left the store without paying for about $750 in merchandise.
Both men told Walmart employees they were Homeland Security and CIA officers.
They were arrested later that night and have been in custody at the Twin Falls County Jail since that time.
Altes’ attorney, George Essma, told Harris that his client has lived in Twin Falls for two decades and has been on disability since he was 18.
“He cannot read or write,” Essma said.
Acknowledging Altes’ extensive criminal record, Essma asked the $200,000 bond be significantly reduced.
Twin Falls Deputy Prosecutor Trevor Misseldine listed some of Altes’ prior record, including multiple charges of possession of a controlled substance and burglary charges in Washington during the 1980s and 1990s.
Misseldine added how, when a search warrant was executed at Altes’ home, a considerable amount of Walmart merchandise was found.
“This shows an ongoing enterprise,” Misseldine said.
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After listening to the arguments, Harris reduced Altes’ bond to $100,000.
Wildman’s attorney, Tim Williams, presented this case as being his client’s first felony.
Williams described Wildman as receiving disability payments and suffering from several medical issues, with a need for him to receive proper treatment.
“Medical reasons are not grounds to reduce bond,” Misseldine said.
Detailing how Wildman was openly carrying a firearm at Walmart during the incident, he urged Harris not to consider the bond reduction, saying he posed a direct threat to the public.
Wildman claimed local law enforcement had no authority over him at the time of his arrest and he had to be tased in order to be subdued, Misseldine added.
After Harris denied Wildman’s bond reduction, Wildman rose to address the court.
Harris advised him against that, but Wildman persisted.
“The prosecuting attorney is lying about me having a real gun,” Wildman said, as deputies approached to remove him from the courtroom.
As he was led from the building, Wildman continued to rant against the ruling.
Altes’ trial is scheduled to begin March 10.
Wildman’s trial is set for March 4.