08/23/13 Toni Cassandra Schutz, 27 of LaPaz, was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Robert O. Bowen to eighteen years of imprisonment on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine. Three years of the sentence was suspended which results in a term of imprisonment of 15 years. She was also sentenced to a prison term of six years for the offense of robbery of the Bottle Stop Liquor Store in LaPaz on November 2, 2012. Bowen ordered the sentences to be served concurrently. Bowen approved an agreement reached between Chief Deputy Prosecutor Nelson Chipman and defense counsel Neil Weisman of South Bend.
A dropped cellular phone led to Schutz’s arrest for the liquor store robbery. On November 2, 2012 at 8:41 p.m., Jack Stump of the Bottle Stop Liquor Store in LaPaz called 911 and reported he had just been robbed at gun point of approximately $400. He identified the assailant as a white female with a scarf covering her face. She was reported to have fled on foot northbound from the store.
Various witnesses reported seeing a person flee the area. The next day it was reported that two witnesses found a cellular telephone on the ground. It was identified to belong to Toni Schutz and returned to her. Schutz was wanted on a felony arrest warrant for a probation violation, and with additional investigation she was located in South Bend by Officer Ryan Hollopeter and Detective Duane Culp of the Marshall County Police Department. Upon her arrest, a snub nosed black revolver matching the description of the gun used in the robbery was located in Schutz’s purse. She then admitted to her involvement in the robbery.
The manufacturing methamphetamine case began on January 23, 2012 when a confidential informant allegedly purchased heroin and methamphetamine from Schutz in the parking lot of a restaurant in LaPaz. An investigation continued after neighbors of Schutz observed and reported unusually heavy traffic to Schutz’s residence. It was also noted on the national pseudoephedrine registry log that Schutz had purchased pseudoephedrine based products 58 times, and was blocked 21 times because her monthly allotment was exceeded. Then, on July 30, 2012, the garage of Schutz’s residence in LaPaz burned and items associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine were identified as the cause of the fire. A search warrant was obtained and additional items associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine were discovered.
Bowen sentenced Schutz to purposeful incarceration, which allows her to be enrolled while in prison in an intensive anti-meth counseling program. If she succeeds in the program she will be eligible to petition the court for a modification of her sentence.