A Butte man must pay more than $78,000 in restitution to his former employer as part of his sentence Thursday for felony theft.

Richard Young, 45, pleaded guilty to stealing from Bob Ward and Sons in Butte while working as a manager at the sporting goods store.

District Judge Kurt Krueger sentenced Young to the Montana Department of Correction for eight years with seven years suspended. Young must also pay $78,292 in restitution.

Krueger remanded Young to the custody of Butte police after the hearing.

A manager at the sporting goods store first went to police in October to report that he suspected Young was taking items and selling them online, based on his sign-on name rickifish2. The manager believed this was Young, because his vehicle license plate was IFISH2.

Young was charged in connection with stealing items from the store at 1925 Dewey Blvd., where he worked as an assistant manager, selling the items online and keeping the money. Investigators determined Young made 25 online sales between May 4 and Oct. 19, 2011, totaling more than $15,000, according to court documents.

In one example, investigation found a $2,500 spotting scope Young took from the store and sold online for $1,500. When questioned by investigators, Young admitted to removing merchandise from the store while closing at night and selling it online, according to charging documents.

— John Grant Emeigh,

The Montana Standard

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