(Rock Springs, Wyo. – April 12, 2017) Three Rock Springs men were arrested Wednesday afternoon on a range of Robbery and Conspiracy charges stemming from an incident authorities say is motorcycle gang-related.
In a joint release issued by Rock Springs Police Department Chief Dwane Pacheco and Sweetwater County Sheriff Mike Lowell, the suspects were identified as Cory W. Rutherford (40), charged with Robbery, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, and Intimidation in Furtherance of the Interests of a Criminal Street Gang, Matthew J. Wedgewood (40), charged with Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, Accessory to Robbery, and Intimidation in Furtherance of the Interests of a Criminal Street Gang, and Nicholas B. Hanson (34) who faces charges of Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, Accessory to Robbery, and Intimidation in Furtherance of the Interests of a Criminal Street Gang. The three were arrested after a multi-agency search warrant execution at four locations in Rock Springs.
On Monday, April 10, at about 3:00 PM, officers of the Rock Springs Police Department were dispatched to the Saddle Lite Saloon on Elk Street regarding a fight in progress.
When they arrived, the officers encountered Bradley Chrisman “bleeding from the head and had cuts and scratches on his arms.”
Chrisman told investigating RSPD officers that he’d been sitting at the bar at the Saddle Lite Saloon; further that “he is an enforcer for the Bad 7 bike gang and was wearing the gang patch while sitting at the bar.”
Chrisman said that a man identified as Cory Rutherford “began punching him in the face while stating ‘give me your cuts or I will kill you;’” further that he was punched “approximately 30 times in the head and kneed in the back and neck;’ that “he began to see stars from the punches and believed he was going to lose consciousness…,” believed “that if he didn’t release his cuts, that Rutherford would kill him,” and believed “the only reason Rutherford stopped punching him was because he released his cuts.”
Officials explained that “cuts” or “cut” is street slang for the leather or denim vest bearing a motorcycle gang member’s patch, which identifies the gang to which he belongs. A motorcycle gang member’s “cuts” are held in high regard; law enforcement officers who specialize in motorcycle gangs say that stealing a gang member’s “cuts”
represents the ultimate disrespect.
Chrisman and witnesses at the Saddle Lite identified a pair of men accompanying and aiding Rutherford as Wedgewood and Hanson. Witnesses also told investigating officers that the three men belong to the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club.
Chrisman and witnesses said the three left the bar with Chrisman’s “cuts,” which, Chrisman said, contained the key fob to his motorcycle and a .38 Special snub-nosed black chrome revolver.
Chrisman later received treatment for his injuries at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.
During the course of the investigation, Rock Springs officers reviewed video footage from security cameras at the Saddle Lite and noted the following:
• Rutherford, Wedgewood, and Hanson approach the entrance of the bar together. “The three men can be seen performing a brief warm up or stretch just before entering the bar together,” as described in court documents.
• “Upon entering the bar, Rutherford who has a large flashlight and large knife hanging from his belt, immediately walks up to Chrisman and grabs him by the back shoulders with his hands and throws Chrisman from his bar stool to the ground. Rutherford is then seen punching, kneeing, and slamming Chrisman on the ground.”
• “As Rutherford pulls the cuts away from Chrisman, the three men walk toward the exit together with Rutherford holding the cuts in his hands.”
Witnesses told investigators that other bar patrons attempted to aid Chrisman, which can be seen in the video footage, and reported that the three men left the area in a Red Dodge pickup.
Also arrested during the course of the investigation on Wednesday was Kathleen Goich (35) for misdemeanor-level Possession of Marijuana.
Rutherford, Wedgewood, and Hanson were arrested without incident at various locations in Rock Springs including Connecticut Avenue, Hancock Street, Walnut Street, and 5th Street. They remain in custody at the Sweetwater County Detention Center pending an initial appearance in Circuit Court, as the investigation continues. These arrests were a combined effort of tactical teams from the Rock Springs Police Department, Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, Green River Police Department, and Wyoming Highway Patrol.