By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — A SWAT team deployed in Colfax was the third prong of an effort that resulted in the arrest of three suspects in the armed robbery of the Bateman Express Mart in the Town of Lafayette in Chippewa County several days earlier.
Around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, the Eau Claire Regional Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was in downtown Colfax, ready to enter an apartment above the Deluxe Beauty Salon at 610 Main Street.
There are two apartments upstairs and two apartments downstairs in the building.
At first there was confusion about which upstairs apartment was the correct one.
The building’s owner “needs to make sure she keeps a set of keys for all of the apartments and not let the renters change the locks. It’s one of those things where you don’t have any choice about how you’re going to get in,” said Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith.
As it turned out, the SWAT team needed to use a “shock lock round” to gain entry to the apartment.
A shock lock round is a shotgun round that takes locks out.
The blasts from the shotgun rounds were clearly audible to people standing across the street inside of the Colfax Public Library.
“For years we wanted to have a SWAT team for situations that were dangerous, but we only have 12 deputies and four patrol sergeants. Eau Claire had a team, and it was costing a ton of money, so they asked us about doing a regional team … it would almost break your budget to have a team of your own,” Sheriff Smith said.
“Today they brought a small team because it was a small building and not enough room for everybody. It worked out well. Nowadays with all of the violence going on, you just don’t want anybody to get hurt. With the first apartment, we wanted the element of surprise. But once that was done (with the shock lock round), there was no surprise left … the information we had was correct. They had the numbers (of the apartments) back to back,” he explained.
The person the SWAT team was looking for, Cody Boehm, was not at the apartment but was arrested later that afternoon at 4 p.m. in Chippewa Falls.
According to Colfax Police Chief Bill Anderson, “Cody Boehm had been connected to Colfax as he had been staying with a friend at the apartments at 610 Main Street.”
This was not, however, Boehm’s first visit to Colfax.
“Officer (Mike) Madrid dealt with Cody Boehm on February 25 just outside of those apartments. He dealt with eight or nine people, and Cody was one of them,” Police Chief Anderson said.
Boehm was cited by Officer Madrid for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and underage drinking, he said.
“Investigators in Chippewa County received information that Cody had been dropped off in Colfax on Sunday, March 15, and was staying in the apartment. Cody Boehm’s personal belongings were found inside of the apartment, along with evidence in connection with the armed robbery that had occurred at the gas station,” Police Chief Anderson said.
The Bateman Express Mart had been the target of an armed robbery at around 11:10 p.m. the night before Boehm was dropped off in Colfax.
According to a news release from the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Bateman Express Mart Saturday, March 14, and learned that three armed males had fled the store on foot with an undisclosed amount of money as well as alcohol and cigarettes. They were described as wearing dark-colored clothing and had entered the store when the clerk was in the process of closing.
According to another news release from the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department, on Monday, March 16, the sheriff’s department had received information about a possible suspect in possession of items associated with the Bateman armed robbery.
The information led investigators to a residence in Buffalo County. With the cooperation of the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department and the Eau Claire Regional SWAT team, a no-knock search warrant was executed, and a male was taken into custody and interviewed.
The interview yielded information that led investigators to execute another search warrant in the Town of Lafayette in Chippewa County.
The search warrant at the Lafayette residence resulted in the seizure of numerous items of evidence, including a suspected weapon (Airsoft), alcohol, money, carrying bags and clothing matching those used in the armed robbery, according to the news release.
On-line sources describe Airsoft weapons as replica firearms that fire projectiles made of different materials. The replica weapons can look like anything from a pistol to a military-style weapon.
According to the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department news release, a second male was taken into custody in the early morning hours of March 17 and a second Airsoft weapon was seized.
The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, the Colfax Police Department and the Eau Claire Regional SWAT team , executed a no-knock search warrant in Colfax, and additional items consistent with those taken at the Bateman Express Mart were seized.
At around 4 p.m., according to the news release, Chippewa County investigators received additional information, and with the assistance of the Chippewa Falls Police Department, took the third suspect into custody in connection with the Bateman armed robbery.
In addition to Boehm, 19, the other two suspects who were arrested are Zachary S. Williams, 21, and Jonathan M. Rowan, 19.
All three are listed as being from Chippewa Falls, and all three were booked into the Chippewa County jail.
The Eau Claire Regional SWAT team has 22 members from a variety of law enforcement agencies in the area.