Idaho State Police: Armed man who dug through trash in House chamber committed no crime

Idaho State Police Capt. Sheldon Kelley says ISP is not seeking to question an unidentified man whose Jan. 10 appearance on an 11-minute security video alarmed lawmakers and prompted short-term security changes.

A number of comments on our Sunday story about tightened Capitol security asked about a law enforcement response.

"We weren't able to identify him because we haven't tried to," Kelley told me last week. "It wasn't a crime at the time. That's part of the reason (Department of Adminsitration) Director (Teresa) Luna is showing that video; she's trying to get the rules of the Capitol to get those changes instituted."

In response to the video, the House and Senate chambers have been closed between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. Legislative leaders are working with ISP and Luna on other possible security measures.

Kelley said discussions include more limits to public access inside the Capitol, which is not part of controversial rules for the building's exterior and the Capitol Mall, which were sparked by last year's "Occupy Boise" encampment.

"There was nothing to keep that person out of that area," Kelley said of the man's wanderings on the House floor. "This isn't to say that I agree or ISP agrees with what he was doing. We would absolutely like it to be against the rules."

Luna told me the "Occupy" rules mandated by the 2012 Legislature took precedence and that rules for the Capitol interior are more complicated because multiple parties control space. Those include the Legislature; statewide elected officials, including her boss, Gov. Butch Otter; and the Department of Administration.

"We need to get all of those groups around the table to decide what those rules would look like," she said Friday.

The man was seen on a security video inspecting documents on representatives' desks, taking photos of documents and desktops with his cell phone and at one point reaching into a waste bin, removing a paper and returning it to the trash. The man was wearing a sidearm and had attached himself to a tour of Boy and Cub Scouts led by Rep. James Hotlzclaw, R-Meridian. Holtzclaw said he thought the man was a parent of a Scout; Holtzclaw said the Scout leader told him he thought the man was a security officer because of his weapon.

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Ironic that the legislature

Ironic that the legislature has no problems with citizens carrying guns in the Statehouse but heaven help citizens invading offices, desks and trash baskets.



Ban the Boy Scouts

This would never have happened if someone hadn't let those scouts in there.

The solution is SO obvious people!


Why is this a concern?

It didn't concern the tour leader.

T. Luna should be paying attention to her budget instead of this video.


If the Legislature does anything further to restrict people's access in the Capitol, it will just be one more thing contradicting their basic philosophy.


In Yesterday's article on this subject the scout leader was reported as thinking this guy was a security guard because he had a gun.

The fact that he wasn't wearing a uniform apparently did not enter into the assumption. So really, he just let a random guy with a gun hang out around the kids he was responsible for.

hangin out

Yep. So the real problem is the Boy Scout leader.
Even without a gun... Scout leader should know who is in the group.

If you don't know who he is, you don't know why he was there

How do you know he is not an off duty State Police Officer, who's purpose was to show lax security.

A number of things concern me about this

First, it appears that there was a breach in standard scout safety procedures. If this man was not a part of the scout group, as it now appears, the Scout Leader has an obligation to ask the man to leave, especially if this was a private tour for the scout group. He could have been putting his kids at risk by not doing so.

Second, while the man had a gun, it does not appear that he used in in any kind of threatening way, so it's bad journalism that the gun was even mentioned. The State building does not currently prevent citizens from carrying guns into the building, so the gun was a non-factor.

Third, I'm more concerned that the man was able to snoop around offices, take pictures of things on people's desk and rummage through the trash. If no one seems to know who he isw, that kind of activity shouldn't be allowed. What if a state rep had personal information on his/her desk? What if the office had tax records with personal information?

Fourth, it seems that there were a couple of adults around that should have been responsible. Why didn't Hotlzclaw or the scout leader step in and ask the man to leave? Another case where something might have been prevented had responsible adults not been afraid to take action.


There is no presumption of privacy at someone's desk when it is public property.

It's in the trash. Janitors come by and pick it up- they can look through the trash too. There should be no confidential or private information available to see.

So in such a case, the original guardian of such information is at fault. Not some dumpster diver.

Really? No presumption of privacy?

The Governor's desk is also public property. I'm quite sure you are not allowed to barge in and start going through his desk. All of state government offices and tax commission offices are public property. We are not allowed to walk into state offices and start going through people's desks. In fact, in a number of public buildings, you are not even allowed to get past the entrance without some type (even if it may be minimal) of security clearance. There are countless examples of desks that are public property that you are not allowed go through people's desks.

I agree with you on the trash. But I do find his dumpster diving really creepy...not illegal in any way, just very odd.

Asking the man to leave?

And if he's some kind of nut, maybe that's the straw that pushes him over the edge and we have a bunch of dead scouts on the floor.

Much ado about nothing

but lets initiate all sorts of knee jerk reactions to make it appear someone is "doing" something.


Yes! And be afraid.

It appears

that someone operating the security camera began following the movements of the person's strange activity. If this was a concern, why wasn't security down there sooner to inquire about this mans motives.
Unarmed security is also a foolish policy in an area like this.

You can't take my rights away

No one will take my rights away of being able to dig through trash!! That trash is public and if I want to do it with a gun in hand then SO BE IT ....THIS IS AMURICA!!


So one guy behaves like a boor and now the rules must be changed because of it?

My suggestion is that if the legislators don't want people snooping around the desks in our house of government, then they should secure their desks appropriately.

And, of course, those of us who feel the need to do the snooping might want to exercise a little restraint as well.

As far as the gun goes, I think that it was a poor exercise of judgement to pack heat in the capitol building, but that particular building tends to bring out the most extreme examples of poor judgement in its occupants.

Can't have it both ways

Oh come on all want to have the right to carry and possess why all of the sudden are you concerned? Perhaps now you understand why many of us want this right a bit better regulated? Yes the adults who failed to check on this guy are idiots....what would have happened had he decided he had a gripe...and poof all these kids are great hostages. but hey only in Idaho right?
Keep up the good just helps illustrate why we need better regulation. BTW that doesnt mean give up the guns