A Missoula man faces felony charges for allegedly breaking a window and stealing jewelry from a downtown store.
Prosecutors say that Ben David Belcourt, 34, also made threatening remarks to a Missoula police officer after he was arrested Thursday.
According to a court affidavit, officers were called to the Peace of Mind pipe shop after an alarm was triggered just after 11 p.m. on July 7. They found the glass front door had been smashed, although the door had iron bars and it didn’t appear anyone had gone inside. A man at the scene said another male had smashed the door then left on foot eastbound, pushing his bike.
Around ten minutes later, 911 dispatch told the officers another alarm had been triggered at Jem Shoppe Jewelers in the 100 block of Broadway. Police allegedly saw Belcourt, who matched the description of the suspect, reaching through the front window of the store. When he saw police, he allegedly rode away on his bike. As Officer Ethan Smith approached him, Belcourt threw several items on the ground, according to the affidavit.
When Smith arrested Belcourt, he said the man was bleeding from a cut on his forearm, and that the items that had been dropped were pieces of jewelry. Another officer found a rock inside of the jewelry store’s broken window.
Belcourt allegedly refused to provide his name, and Smith noted he smelled of alcohol. He was taken to the hospital for stitches, where Smith said Belcourt made several threats that he intended to retaliate against him, including asking the officer if he had any children.
Belcourt is charged with felonies for burglary and criminal mischief, as well as misdemeanors for obstructing a peace officer, criminal mischief and theft.
He made his initial appearance Friday in Missoula County Justice Court, where deputy county attorney Selene Koepke requested a bail of $25,000, citing Belcourt’s lengthy criminal history. Koepke said she had no issue with Belcourt being screened for pretrial supervision, but said if he is released, he should be monitored for alcohol and drugs, as well as be barred from contacting Smith or returning to either of the businesses.
Public defense attorney Scott Spencer asked for a lower bond amount of $10,000, saying Belcourt has health issues and doesn’t have access to his medications while in custody.
“I’m going to set bail at $10,000, but I’m going to give you some pretty tight restrictions so listen up,” Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech said before she imposed the requests made by Koepke.