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Eureka man accused of burglary, theft spree pleads not guilty

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | April 23, 2024 7:00 AM

A Eureka man accused in a month-long burglary and theft spree in north Lincoln County pleaded not guilty to several felony offenses Monday, April 15.

Timothy John Lee, 40, is accused of absconding from supervision prior to his alleged involvement in several incidents in the Glen Lake, Pinkham Creek and Eureka areas.

According to charging documents filed in the case, Lee is facing three felony counts of burglary, three felony counts of theft of a light vehicle, one felony count of theft and one felony count of evidence tampering.

He is also accused of eight misdemeanor counts, including theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

Lee, who is being held in the Lincoln County Detention Center on $150,000 bail, appeared with his public defender, Ben Kolter and entered the pleas.

According to Flathead County District Court records, Lee has an April 18 hearing on a petition to revoke for a 2016 conviction for writing a bad check. His next hearing in Lincoln County is set for May 20.

Montana State Prison records indicate Lee has four convictions in Flathead County dating back to 2012. They include criminal possession of dangerous drugs, theft, bail jumping and the check charge.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy Michael Avila provided a summary of the incidents in a March 15 narrative.

On March 3, Lee is accused of burglary at two locations on Pomeroy Trail in the Glen Lake area. Two D8 batteries were allegedly stolen at one residence while a Quonset hut, horse trailer, snowmobile trailer and camper were broken into.

On March 5, he is accused of criminal trespass at a Pinkham Creek location and on March 6, he accused of criminal trespass and theft at another Pinkham Creek home. During the incident, the armed property owner said he encountered Lee, who said, “Don’t shoot me” before running from the property.

Deputy Clint Heintz said he recognized Lee on video footage from a ring camera during the March 5 incident.

On March 7, a Evergreen Drive, Glen Lake property owner had ring camera video footage of a black Jeep Wrangler driving on to the property.

On March 10, a person reported finding a vehicle crashed off Pinkham Falls Road. It turned out to be stolen from a burglary on Highway 37.

On March 14, another person called dispatch and reported finding another vehicle in the woods near Pinkham Falls. A black Jeep Wrangler was also found nearby. Four wheeler parts were found nearby. A damaged four wheeler was later found parked inside a barn at the site of the Highway 37 burglary. 

Avila’s narrative indicated that Lee had head and facial injuries consistent with rolling a 4 wheeler, according to Flathead County jail booking photos.

After deputies cleared the scene of the stolen vehicles, they drove to the address that was tied to the registered owner of the Jeep and pickup truck. The officers determined the house and barn had been burglarized and the owner of the property lives in France.

When an officer spoke to the owner, he learned the Jeep and pickup were parked in the garage before they were stolen. He also learned that five guns and $10,000 in cash were stolen from a safe inside the house. In addition, a $40,000 knife collection and a 2006 Harley Davidson Road King were reported stolen from the property.

On March 21, Lee was arrested at a Eureka home on Fifth Street East for absconding from his probation. A deputy reported he was wearing the same black sweats that he was allegedly wearing in the ring cam video while trespassing. 

According to a narrative by county officer Christopher Pape, he and Sgt. Bo Pitman were notified by Det. Dan Holskey that he was watching Lee’s residence when the man allegedly tried to flee. Det. Holskey told Pape he had to chase Lee and grappled with him before gaining control of the man. Pape handcuffed Lee and put him in the back seat of his vehicle.

The maximum sentence for a burglary conviction is 20 years in the Montana State Prison. A conviction for light vehicle theft, evidence tampering or theft may result in a 10-year prison term.