Man pleads not guilty to construction theft

DEER LODGE — A Lincoln man accused of having a stolen construction company truck pleaded not guilty in Deer Lodge district court recently to felony theft, possession of stolen property.

Donald W. Carter, 51, could face 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine if found to be guilty.

According to court records, a flatbed truck, with a large welder on the back, a diesel tank and numerous tools, was stolen from Sletton Construction Co. in Helena on June 26.

On Sept. 9, the Lewis and Clark County sheriff’s office received a report of possibly a stolen truck on the Carter family ranch near Ovando. Lewis and Clark and Powell County sheriff offices obtained a search warrant. During a search of the property on Sept. 22 the truck, welder and several hand power tools valued in excess of $5,000 were found in various outbuildings.

Carter is free on his own recognizance, with conditions, pending further court proceedings.

In other recent court action:

  • On a petition to revoke, Michael Eric Bliss, 55, of Missoula admitted violating his probation when he drank alcohol and got a felony fourth DUI in Yellowstone County.

In June 2013, Bliss was sentenced to five years at Montana State Prison with three years suspended for partner/family member assault, and five years suspended prison for stalking; he was also fined $500 and court fees.

While on probation, his attorney said Bliss took the initiative to get a chemical dependence evaluation and out-patient treatment, and is employed by a roofing company. Bliss said since he was sentenced in 2013 he had no issues with the probation condition and had turned his life around until May 7, 2017.

Judge Ray Dayton noted that Bliss has no criminal history when he is sober. He committed Bliss to the Department of Corrections for three years for placement in an appropriate treatment program. He must also pay $160 in court fees.

  • Ryan Brown, 37, of Gold Creek, pleaded not guilty to felony criminal mischief and two counts of misdemeanor criminal trespassing.

According to court records, Brown is accused of cutting fencing between the properties of Zach Singleton and Leaha McCabe, as well as a gate post and several hundred feet of jackleg fencing along Twin Peaks Road. Some of the jackleg poles were allegedly used in a campfire along the road. A well-worn trail from Brown’s property that cuts through property posted “No Trespassing” ends within sight of Singleton’s cabin allegedly to spy on the property, court records said.

Brown is free on his own recognizance pending further court proceedings.

— Pat Hansen, for The Montana Standard