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DEER LODGE — An Avon man pleaded guilty in Deer Lodge district court this week to felony theft of a motor vehicle.

Jerry Walter Brander, 57, admitted that on Aug. 10 he took a 2013 Ford F-150 and a handgun without permission, belonging to Chris Ronnemose of Deer Lodge. Brander said he drove to Great Falls to see a cousin who is a doctor about getting treatment on his shoulder.

On July 31, he was sentenced for felony criminal endangerment to 10 years in prison, suspended, with credit for 186 days served. He was ordered to pay $80 in court fees and abide by probation conditions.

Brander admitted his actions on Aug. 10 resulted in five probation violations — traveling outside of the county without permission of his probation officer, possession of a weapon, failure to obey all laws (theft of motor vehicle), use of alcohol (he was intoxicated when arrested by Great Falls law enforcement), and operating a vehicle without authority of a parole officer and without an alcohol control device.

Judge Ray Dayton expressed disappointment in Brander, saying that he was optimistic about his future last month based on Brander’s statement and the pre-sentence investigation report.

“There are other ways to get to Great Falls without taking someone’s vehicle. It shows that you are still a danger to society,” Dayton said. “Even with a suspended 10-year sentence in MSP...your conduct of stealing a car while on probation warrants a prison sentence.”

Dayton revoked the 10-year suspended sentence with credit for 212 days served, but Brander must pay the court fees. For theft of a motor vehicle, Brander was sentenced to 10 years with no time suspended and credit for 26 days served; there was no fine but $80 in court fees. The sentences will run concurrently.

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