WALLA WALLA, Washington – An employee of the Walla Walla Bread Company, suspected of vandalizing the business over the weekend, was arrested Wednesday. Walla Walla police took Joseph James Caldwell, 35, of Walla Walla on probable cause for malicious mischief in the second degree.
According to WWPD Sgt. Eric Knudson, Caldwell was known to be an employee at the Walla Walla Bread Company during this incident and believe he’s responsible for the vandalism. Caldwell has been released from jail.
“The prosecutor’s office is not going to file charges within 72 hours of his arrest, as we are awaiting the full police report and agreed to his release,” Walla Walla County Prosecutor Jim Nagle said.
Early Sunday morning, police responded to the Walla Walla Bread Company on East Main Street for a report of a possible burglary. Upon arrival, officers discovered the building was secure, but tables and chairs were flipped over and the business appeared ransacked.
According to court documents, police stated Caldwell was arrested based on evidence that he was the last known person in the building and video footage showed nobody entering or leaving the building after he left. When officers arrived, the building was secured.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn the identity of this person,” owners Coral and Michele Pompei stated in a joint communication to KTEL News. “He had been a positive and hard-working employee and we cannot understand his possible motives for committing this crime. We are relieved that the police department has identified the person responsible, and we are focusing on getting back to business as usual. We thank the local community for the support they have given, and we are looking ahead to a bright future.”
The Pompei’s estimate their damages to be just over $2,000. Nothing was stolen.