Separate robbery and assault investigations converged on a single suspect in Missoula County Justice Court on Thursday.
Michael Kain Collier, 23, faces felony robbery charges in one case and felony assault with a weapon in another. Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech ordered him held pending $25,000 bail.
According to court records, a 16-year-old boy was walking through the Southgate Mall parking lot Wednesday evening when he saw someone smash a car window with a metal tool. The suspect took sunglasses, cigarettes and some other items from the car and told the boy it belonged to his ex-girlfriend before leaving on foot.
The boy followed the suspect toward the Bitterroot Trail, but the man “raised a crowbar or pickax tool above his head and said to (the boy), ‘If you come toward me, I’ll hurt you,’ ” the court affidavit said.
The boy gave up trying to follow the suspect and called 9-1-1. Officers brought a police dog and tried to scent-track the suspect, but lost the trail a few blocks away on Benton Street.
Shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday, police got a 9-1-1 call from Chad Fite, who was “couch-surfing” at the Agnes Street apartment Collier and his girlfriend shared near the mall. Fite said Collier told them he was hiding from police, so the three of them went to a bar in Bonner for several hours. When they returned, Fite said Collier and the woman started fighting.
“Fite said he tried to intervene but Collier produced a large kitchen knife, pointed it at him (Fite) and said, ‘Do you want some of this?’ ” the affidavit stated. “Fite said he wasn’t sure if Collier was actually going to stab him, so he backed off and called 9-1-1.”
Officers interviewed the woman, who said Collier pushed her against a wall, slammed a door on her leg and threatened her. She also claimed that Collier told her he was breaking into cars earlier in the evening.
While investigating the assault call, officers found clothing and other items that appeared connected to the Southgate Mall car break-in. They concluded they had enough evidence to charge him with both the assault and the robbery.