Details Emerge in Pop-N-Cork Raids

Brandon McMillan/|

New details have emerged in the March 3 raids of both Pop-N-Cork locations in Turlock by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department as part of the investigation into the murder of Korey Kauffman.

Along with the raids of the businesses, the homes of Pop-N-Cork owner Baljit Singh Athwal (Bobby) and his brother Daljit Singh Athwal (Dee) were searched the same morning.

Law enforcement came in with guns pointed, scaring Baljit Athwal’s children, including his 8-year-old son who had to see a school counselor, he said.

The homes and businesses were searched as law enforcement considered Baljit Athwal a person of interest in the Kauffman murder case. He knew suspect Robert Lee Woody, who was arrested and charged with Kauffman’s murder this week.

Law enforcement seized all of the Athwals’ iPads, cell phones, laptops, and licensed guns from their homes, and broke down doors and cut the wires to their Lottery machine, cameras, and alarm systems at the businesses, said Baljit Athwal.

Baljit Athwal was taken into custody after the searches of his home and businesses, and was involved in a car accident in Ceres while being driven by a police officer, with another office as a passenger.

The driving officer suffered head wounds and Baljit Athwal came away with back and neck injuries. Both were transported to Memorial Hospital in Modesto, said Baljit Athwal.

The Ceres Police Department would not release the names of anyone involved in the accident at the time.

After being taken to the hospital, Baljit Athwal says that he was released without being questioned, and told he would have to find a ride home.

Athwal said he only helped Woody by giving him odd jobs, but has not spoken to Woody in months since Woody began using drugs again. Woody was a long time customer of Pop-N-Cork, his home being only steps away in the 1100 block of East Avenue.

Woody’s home was searched by Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team members on Feb. 26.

Woody has been charged for the murder of Kauffman and obstruction of justice. He is being held in special custody, and is not listed as an inmate in local jails, according to court documents.

Investigators have not released any information on the arrest of Woody or the searches of Woody’s home and Athwal’s businesses other than to state they came in regards to “a homicide investigation.”

The investigation into Kauffman’s death has been ongoing for roughly seven months. Kauffman went missing in March 2012. His body was found in the Stanislaus National Forest by hunters in Aug. 2013. Kauffman death was deemed “suspicious” at the time.

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