Pocatello police said the man who broke into the SME Steel building on West Quinn early Thursday morning is a former employee.
A company employee told police he saw a man leave the west side of the building and flee the area at 3:30 a.m..
Police said it was Shawn Hatch, 35, who forced entry into the building, then caused extensive damage inside the business by using forklifts to crash through walls, destroy offices and personal property. Vending machines were also broken into and items removed.
Due to previous, similar burglaries at the business in July and October, detectives had information on a possible suspect who had been selling stolen items. Officers contacted Hatch at 4:40 a.m. Thursday at his Pocatello home. They said the found evidence and obtained a search warrant.
Police said evidence later obtained with a search warrant for a residence on Willard Street. They said that search located an extensive amount of evidence in excess of $200 thousand that was related to the SME Steel burglary and others.
Hatch was brought to the station and interviewed by detectives. As a result of the interview and evidence obtained, Hatch was arrested are charged with burglary, vandalism and possession of stolen property, all felonies. Hatch was incarcerated at the Bannock County Jail.
No damage estimate was available because the damage to the business and personal property was very extensive and will take time to complete an inventory of the damage, police said.
Police on Friday said the investigation was continuing and additional charges may be pending. Hatch remained in the Bannock County Jail.