GREAT FALLS (AP) - Police say they arrested three teenage thieves and recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise on New Year's Eve simply by following footprints in the snow from a burglarized church.
They arrested Arvin Peter Gallagher Jr., 18, Colton Zadick, 17, and Trevor Lasher, 17, on an array of charges.
According to information filed in Justice Court, burglars took about $375 in cash from Redeemer Lutheran Church, along with a VCR, a portable CD player, two keys, some Coca-Cola and licorice. A podium had been torn off the wall.
The police report said officers obtained a search warrant after they followed a trail of footprints, pop and candy to Gallagher's home. There they found cash, a CD player with a serial number that matched that stolen from the church, soda cans with a lot number that matched the stolen pop, shoes belonging to the boys that matched the footprints from the church, and a countertop strewn with rope licorice, their report said.
Officers said they also discovered, hidden throughout the house, "numerous car stereos (some with part of the dashboard attached), several VCRs, DVDs, Playstations, cameras, binoculars, paintball guns, etc. … clothing with security tags and price tags … at least three backpacks full of tools" and "a confirmed stolen dune buggy" in the back yard.
A key from the church was found in Lasher's pocket, officers reported.
Gallagher was charged with burglary and theft as well several misdemeanors. He was held under $100,000 bail.
Lasher and Zadick were charged in Youth Court with accountability to burglary, misdemeanor theft and misdemeanor criminal mischief.
Gallagher was charged last August with aggravated burglary and assault with a weapon, both felonies, for allegedly forcing his way into an apartment and stabbing a man at a party.