Shane Jacob Casey in court

Shane Jacob Casey, right, walks out of court with public defender Josh Demers behind him Thursday after pleading guilty to robbery. Judge Kurt Krueger will sentence him later.

A Great Falls man who attempted a carjacking with a gun at West Elementary School in Butte last year and then pointed the pistol at a homeowner pleaded guilty to robbery Thursday.

District Judge Kurt Krueger ordered a presentence investigation before he determines the immediate fate of 25-year-old Shane Jacob Casey, but he faces from two to 40 years in prison when that’s handed down.

Although there were a few alleged carjackings in Butte last year and they happen somewhat frequently in some larger U.S. cities, they are rare here.

“It’s not a common deal,” Undersheriff George Skuletich said Thursday. “In fact, it’s very uncommon.”

Casey was charged with two felony counts of robbery but pleaded guilty to one in a plea agreement with prosecutors. He was pleasant during Thursday’s hearing — smiling at one point — and was led back to jail when it was over. Bail is set at $50,000.

Police, when arresting Casey after the incidents on Aug. 15, said they believed he was on methamphetamine at the time, but that was not confirmed.

Regardless, police and prosecutors say Casey went to a house on the 1100 block of West Steel Street around 5:45 a.m. on Aug. 15 and knocked on the door.

When a man answered, Casey pointed a semi-automatic pistol at him and said something like, “Give me the keys to your car and no one has to get hurt.” The homeowner tried to slam the door then ran into the house, yelling for his son to call police.

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When officers arrived, they weren’t sure if Casey was in the house or not, so they searched without finding him. While inside, police got another call about an attempted carjacking at nearby West Elementary School.

The driver had just pulled into the school parking lot and shut off his car when Casey approached with a gun and told him to get out of the vehicle.

The man turned the ignition instead and told Casey to “get the hell out of here” and pulled forward when Casey took off running, prosecutors say. Surveillance video later confirmed the events and showed it was Casey.

A short time later, police caught Casey running between houses on Platinum Street. He had five 9mm rounds in his shirt pocket and made several statements such as “I am on your side,” “I am with you,” and “helping you out.”

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Government and politics reporter

Mike Smith is a reporter at the Montana Standard with an emphasis on government and politics.

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