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Hagen arrested after string of robberies

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | March 23, 2021 7:00 AM

A Libby man faces a single robbery charge so far after allegedly stealing from local gas stations while armed earlier this month.

Ivan John Hagen, 61, made his initial appearance for the felony charge in Lincoln County Justice Court on March 15. Robbery carries a fine of up to $50,000 and imprisonment between two and 40 years upon conviction.

Montana does not have an armed robbery charge, but Libby Police Chief Scott Kessel said committing a robbery while armed could lead to a penalty enhancement.

Court documents allege that Hagen stole cigarettes and beer from a gas station early in the morning on March 8. When Hagen asked if he could buy the goods, the cashier replied that he could buy the cigarettes, but it was too early for alcohol sales.

Hagen then allegedly said he would be buying the alcohol and opened his coat to show a handgun strapped in a shoulder holster.

“Hagen willingly and knowingly exhibited the handgun, which placed the cashier in fear of immediate bodily injury,” wrote Libby Police officer Ronald Buckner in an affidavit.

Hagen then allegedly took the beer and cigarettes, stopping to grab another beer from the store cooler before leaving. The items were valued at approximately $10, according to court documents.

Kessel said Hagen was allegedly behind other thefts that day. Later in the day, he is suspected to have stolen cigarettes from another local gas station.

At a third local gas station, Hagen allegedly threatened a customer with a firearm while they were checking out. According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office incident log, he allegedly took off with $30 worth of fuel.

Hagen was described as “heavily armed” in the log, with one firearm in his waistband, a second in a pocket and a third in a shoulder holster.

Kessel said the county attorney’s office might bring additional charges against Hagen for the other incidents.