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Missoula Deputies Chase Break-In Suspects up Mountain, Discover Piles of Stolen Purses

Vehicle break-ins
Photo courtesy of MCSD

Missoula county authorities have captured two individuals suspected of smashing the windows of vehicles at local trail heads and stealing valuables.

On Monday, March 25, Missoula County Deputies received a call from a hiker at Patti Canyon who heard glass break after beginning his assent. The hiker returned to his vehicle where he saw two men, one of which was inside of a vehicle with a recently shattered window.

The hiker called authorities with a description of the suspects and their vehicle as the two suspects fled.

According to Public Information Officer Jason Johnson with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department, a lot of the credit for the capture of the two suspects is due to swift and efficient thinking on the part of Sergeant Tony Rio.

“Sergeant Rio had the foresight to send one of our deputies to the Blue Mountain trail head,” Johnson said. “That really paid off. When that deputy rolled up in the parking lot, there was the vehicle. One of the suspects standing there saw the deputy and ran up the trail head. Seconds later, the second suspect exited the bathroom in the parking lot and ran up the trail head as well.”

While Rio and the deputy chased the suspects through the mountains, another deputy had been sent to the Hays Creek trail head. While waiting at Hays Creek, the deputy noticed two men hiding in the trees.

“They were able to corner them and apprehend them,” Johnson said. “What the investigation revealed is that these guys were potentially involved in three to four break-ins in the county and potentially over a dozen break-in cases in the city. We found some sites where they had been dumping purses that they had taken from vehicles.”

By looking at prescriptions and cards in the purses, deputies were able to find names of victims.

27-year-old David Moorse appeared in Justice court on Tuesday March, 26 on charges of theft of belongings from a motor vehicle and criminal trespass to a motor vehicle. Those charges were related to the Patti Canyon incident. Moorse was spotted inside the vehicle with a broken window.

“As we piece these things together I’m sure there will be other charges pending,” Johnson said. “It’ll be in the felony amount by the time detectives finish putting the pieces together. There could be a potential to charge the suspect with common scheme, which is the same misdemeanor crime over and over again. Common scheme is another felony.”

Jason Johnson:

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