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Theft suspects who led officers on chase make initial court appearance

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Posted at 9:01 AM, Dec 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-19 11:02:27-05

MISSOULA — The three theft suspects who were the subject of a law enforcement search near Frenchtown earlier this week appeared in court Friday on felony charges.

Jordan Randal Christensen, 27 years old; Sammy Wright, 27; and Steven Meile, 30, are all facing charges for theft and more following the incident. The group is accused of trying to steal a trailer from a home earlier this week. A chase then followed with law enforcement using police dogs and helicopters to locate the suspects.

Christensen is charged with fleeing from or eluding a peace officer, felony criminal endangerment, and felony theft for leading law enforcement on a chase through Missoula County, after allegedly attempting to steal a trailer from a home earlier this week. The chase ensued on foot, vehicle, with the use of police dogs, and helicopters on Wednesday and Thursday.

According to court documents, Christensen told two other men that were with him that he was going to pick up a trailer. A witness noticed the men using bolt cutters on the trailer's lock, and they took off in a pickup truck.

A police officer attempted to stop them, but they continued, causing an oncoming pickup to move off the road and stop. They then drove through a fence at the Frenchtown Mill, and then through a pond, where the vehicle got stuck. The men then ran away. A police officer noted someone dropped a backpack.

Wright, who is from Superior, was caught by police and admitted smoking meth prior to the chase, according to documents. He has pending charges for criminal possession of dangerous drugs, and theft. He reported he was diabetic and was taken to the hospital for treatment, and then was arrested.

Police then set up a perimeter, with the help of K9's and Two Bear Air, to search for Christensen and the other defendant. Meile, who is from Superior, was located by helicopter Wednesday night.

Meile was hypothermic and was taken to the hospital. He’s been charged with theft and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, for allegedly attempting to hide a 9-millimeter gun.

Once Meile was arrested, deputies continued to track footprints believed to belong to Christensen until he was located on Thursday afternoon. Christensen has a warrant for his arrest out of Mineral County, and Meile is on probation. Christensen's bond was set at $300,000.

All three defendants are set to appear in court on December 28 to enter pleas.