GREAT FALLS — The Lake County Sheriff's Office on Thursday announced that after a months-long investigation by its office, with the assistance of Montana Highway Patrol and Flathead Tribal Police, deputies have solved a series of Mission Valley thefts and burglaries. Officers also recovered parts of a stolen truck owned by the State of Montana, and identified suspects in two "troubling cases" in which law enforcement officers were targeted by local criminals.
• 8 search warrants have been conducted on suspect properties, with numerous items being recovered and returned to their rightful owners
• Todd Lozeau, 36 years old, of Charlo, was arrested after running from officers during the execution of a search warrant. He has been charged with 1 burglary, 2 counts of tampering with evidence, felony theft, and other theft and burglary related charges are pending – Currently in jail
• Paul Groom, 43 of Charlo, was arrested on an outstanding warrant has been charged with 1 burglary and 1 theft – Currently in jail
• Tanya Phillips was arrested on an outstanding warrant and has been charged with 1 burglary and 1 theft – Currently in jail
Lake County Sheriff Don Bell said in a news release that in search warrants, parts and pieces of a truck owned by the Montana Department of Transportation were located and recovered. Deputies recovered a utility box, bumper, miscellaneous parts, the frame and engine. The cab, fenders, hood, and all of the tools previously contained in the utility box have not yet been located. The truck was stolen from the Dillon area in mid-October and a suspect in the theft has been identified. Lozeau is charged with crimes related to the possession of the vehicle parts and for crimes related to the dismantlement and concealment of the vehicle.
Deputies have also developed suspects in the case of buckets of nails being dumped on county roads directly in front of the homes of law enforcement officers. Thousands of dollars in damages resulted in this case due to the officers and area residents running over the nails. This investigation is ongoing and the Lake County Commissioners have stated they will provide award money to anyone providing the Sheriff’s Office with information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in this case. Please contact Deputy Steve Larson with the Sheriff’s Office if you have information on this case.
Also through this investigation, deputies have developed a suspect in a case where a law enforcement officer’s family dog was abducted, beaten, and dumped at a truck stop in St. Regis. The dog was returned to its family. This case also remains under investigation and anyone with further information is encouraged to contact Deputy Larson at email@example.com or 406.249.3021.