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Police say the presence of an abandoned backpack containing a toy gun in the lobby of a Butte bank caused employees to momentarily put the institution on lockdown Monday afternoon.

Undersheriff George Skuletich said police received a call around 2:30 p.m. from the employees of Heritage Federal Credit Union, 2101 Yale Ave., who said that a man walked into the bank, behaved erratically and left behind a backpack in the lobby before leaving the facility.

Employees inspected the backpack, the undersheriff said, where inside they discovered cellphone chargers, a can of Steel Reserve and an airsoft rifle, which Skuletich said are often mistaken for real guns.

The bank was put on lockdown until officers arrived, which was less than 5 minutes later, Skuletich said.

Officers later apprehended Kristopher Lehto, 26, of Butte, in the parking lot of the Massachusetts Avenue Safeway. Skuletich said the 26-year-old matched the description given by bank employees, and was allegedly spotted by officers emerging from the store carrying away $750 worth of items he did not pay for.

Lehto was arrested and taken to Butte county jail, where he remained Tuesday morning on a shoplifting charge. He has not been charged with anything related to the bank incident because he did not make any threats, the undersheriff said.


Business Reporter

Business Reporter for The Montana Standard.

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