“It feels good to get this one done,” said a smiling Mona Williams, Wallowa County’s district attorney, from behind her desk.
Baltimore Carper, 36, Wallowa, was sentenced Oct. 2 to 50 months with the Oregon Department of Corrections after he reached a plea deal with the Wallowa County District Attorney’s office. Carper pleaded guilty to a dozen assorted felonies and misdemeanors.
The case involved the cooperative efforts between Williams’ office, the sheriff’s office, Enterprise Police department and Oregon State Police.
When Williams was first notified by Montana law enforcement in April 2016 that one Baltimore Carper and his wife, Amanda, had burglarized a home there and were likely headed for Wallowa County, where he had inherited property, she had no idea that law enforcement would spend more than a year and tax their resources to the fullest.
The call from Montana warned the Carpers had stolen firearms, a trailer and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Law enforcement officers went out to the area of Carper’s land. During surveillance from a neighboring property, they noted the trailer’s presence.
Carper was apprehended after leaving the property with a van and the trailer and parking it alongside the road and walking to the barn of neighbor’s property. Officers could see a firearm in the van, and when Carper returned, he was arrested for being in possession of stolen property. On examination, the stolen firearm was an illegal “sawed-off” firearm.
During a standard search while impounding the van, the officers found an additional illegal sawed off shotgun and subsequently recovered most of the stolen firearms and other stolen items from Montana.
Although Williams charged Carper with possession of stolen items and possession of the illegal weapons, he eventually was sent to Montana to face those charges. Williams didn’t intend to press charges as she did not figure to see Carper again.
To Williams’ surprise, Carper promptly returned to the area after being cut loose by Montana authorities.
“Then, things started disappearing, so that’s when I went to the grand jury and they indicted him on the two sawed-off firearms,” Williams said. “We started with that case and went from there to the point we had 14 separate cases against him.”
Carper and his wife are admitted drug addicts, at the time, willing to do anything to fuel their habit. Because Carper sold the land he inherited, he and his wife were able to post bail multiple times as they were released and arrested yet again.
Some of the charges were filed six to eight months after the incident occurred because the perpetrator was unknown at the time of the theft. In one just one case, a Boise couple had their raft trailer stolen and the gas siphoned from their truck during a Grande Ronde rafting trip. The trailer was later recovered by law enforcement at Carper’s residence.
As officers began to search the area, they noted items reported stolen from the Lostine cemetery and electric tools.
“So now, all these thefts and burglaries we’ve got reports on –– we now know who did it,” Williams said. “Everything fell into place.”
That was just one of many brushes the Carpers had with the law. Charges ranged from aggravated theft, burglary, meth possession and delivery and others, including a child neglect charge, resulting in the loss of their children to the Department of Human Services. By mid-2017, Baltimore Carper had exhausted his resources and was in Umatilla County Jail to stay until his October sentencing.
Because of the significant amounts of bail forfeited each time either he or his wife were released and subsequently rearrested, Williams was able to design her offer to allow Carper’s victims to promptly get their restitution.
“What usually happens in these cases is that restitution is ordered, but they may get it by dollars per month –– if they ever get it. In this case, every victim is made whole.”
Williams was glad to put a lid on Carper’s capers. She said that only two of Carper’s 14 charges at court were dismissed: A speeding ticket and a contempt charge for committing more criminal acts while out on bail.