A Helena man was convicted in U.S. District Court this week of robbing Missoula’s Silver Dollar Bar.
Curtis Tichenor, 52, is currently detained and slated to be sentenced Aug. 7.
According to court documents, at 10:30 a.m. last July 14, a person wearing a Halloween mask and hoodie came into the Silver Dollar Bar, pointed a handgun at the bartender and demanded money.
Since the bar had been gearing up for a softball tournament later that day, it had more cash on hand than usual and the robber made off with about $4,775.
Tichenor used a 9 mm handgun in the crime; one of the counts also accused him of illegally possessing the gun, since he had been convicted of crimes in 1982, 1983 and 1989 in California that prohibited him from having a weapon.
After he left the bar, Tichenor got into his blue Chevrolet Camaro, which was parked in an alley to the southwest of the Silver Dollar. His girlfriend was a passenger in the car and Tichenor told her he had just committed a robbery, and threw the gun, mask and money into her lap.
They drove to Spokane, Wash., where they stayed for a few days and Tichenor used money from the robbery to buy methamphetamine and heroin, which both he and his girlfriend used while they stayed at a hotel there. They then returned to Helena, where both of them lived at the time.
When he got back to Helena, Tichenor hid the remaining robbery proceeds at his brother’s residence.
Later in July 2012, Tichenor was arrested in Helena while awaiting sentencing on two drug-dealing charges after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest for allegedly violating the conditions of his release.
Acting on a tip, Lewis and Clark County deputies spotted Tichenor’s truck on July 23 at the Howard Johnson motel on 11th Avenue. While he wasn’t inside the truck, two people who were said they had just smoked methamphetamine that he provided.
When officers located Tichenor in a motel room, they saw the 9 mm handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants. They also allegedly found baggies, spoons, syringes, a scale, two bottles of Just For Men hair coloring and about 4 grams of suspected methamphetamine, according to court documents.
Tichenor faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release on the robbery count; a mandatory minimum of seven years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years supervision consecutive to other sentences on other counts for possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence count; and up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release on the felon in possession of a firearm count.