2 men accused of breaking into Iowa county courthouse, claim state paid them to do it

Two men accused of breaking into an Iowa county courthouse said they were hired to do so by the state's judicial branch.

Justin Wynn, 29, of Naples, Florida, and Gary Demercurio, 43, of Seattle, were charged with third-degree burglary and possession of burglary tools, the Des Moines Register reported. They each are being held in lieu of $50,000 bond.

The men, outfitted with numerous burglary tools, told authorities they had been contracted to test the alarm system at the Dallas County Courthouse, the newspaper reported. According to a criminal complaint, Dallas County officials said they were unaware of any contract.

According to KCCI, the Iowa Judicial branch did hire a company, called Coalfire, to test their security systems. Coalfire is a cybersecurity adviser based in Colorado, Iowa Judicial Branch spokesman Steve Davis told the Register.

A spokesman for Coalfire declined comment on the break-in, but added, “Our employees work diligently to ensure our engagements are conducted with utmost integrity and in alignment with the objectives of our client.”

However, the Iowa Judicial Branch said in a statement,“The company was asked to attempt unauthorized access to court records through various means to learn of any potential vulnerabilities. The SCA (State Court Administration) did not intend, or anticipate, those efforts to include forced entry into a building.”

At least the courthouse's security system worked. The men triggered the alarm, and authorities found the two men walking in the building's third floor at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to court records.

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