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BUTTE - Police investigating a reported threat made against a Montana Tech student from Saudi Arabia arrested the suspect on an outstanding warrant and added a charge for allegedly punching a police officer.

Chance Wilhelm, 26, was arrested shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday outside a Butte bar by officers who were dispatched when a Tech student reported being threatened.

While investigating the report, officers learned that Wilhelm had a city court warrant for an unpaid fine and placed him under arrest. Officers say Wilhelm tried to run and then was accused of punching an officer in the face.

Justice Bob Lee set Wilhelm's bail at $10,000 on Monday on charges of felony assault on a peace officer and misdemeanor assault.

The Tech student who made the complaint is one of two who complained to Tech administration last month about being harassed and mistreated in town because of their ethnicity.

Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff John Walsh said the police report did not disclose the nature of the alleged threat. Wilhelm denied making a threat.

Deputy County Attorney Mike Clague said the charge against Wilhelm wasn't considered a "hate crime" because there was not egregious bodily harm inflicted on the alleged victim.

Last month, Montana Tech officials reported that students from Saudi Arabia told school administrators about several incidents of being mistreated by some employees at local businesses and other Butte residents. The students also reported being threatened at local bars, being shoved and receiving threatening phone calls.

The school said Butte police and the FBI have been notified, but no formal investigation is under way.


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