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Carbon County commissioner charged with felony theft from county - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Carbon County commissioner charged with felony theft from county

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Doug Tucker is charged with felony theft (Last Best News photo) Doug Tucker is charged with felony theft (Last Best News photo)
RED LODGE -

The presiding officer of the Carbon County Board of Commissioners faces a felony charge for the alleged theft of machinery owned by the county to aid in firefighting and other emergency needs.

Douglas Dean Tucker, 51, was recently charged in Carbon County District Court with one count of felony theft.

Tucker is the presiding officer of the board and represents the Bridger district. His term expires in 2020.

Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Chris Morris is prosecuting the case so Carbon County can avoid a conflict of interest.

Tucker came under investigation by the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office after authorities learned property of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation was missing.

Carbon County had entered into a contract with the DNRC in 2012 to use several Bobcat attachments for five years.

The attachments, which include two 36” Augers, two rollers, two trenches, and one breaker, were to be used in firefighting efforts and other emergencies.

The machinery combined is valued at more than $9,000, according to court documents.

A Bridger area shop owner noted that when he returned from a lengthy medical absence in July of 2016, some of the equipment loaned by the DNRC was missing.

The man contacted authorities, which led to an investigation by Yellowstone County detectives.

The investigation revealed that Tucker had taken the equipment to his neighbor’s house, according to court documents.

Throughout the investigation, the shop owner observed Tucker return the missing roller and trencher.

When questioned by detectives, Tucker allegedly admitted he took the equipment.

Tucker said he had tried to use the roller and trencher on the county-owned skid steer, but that the attachments wouldn’t work with that equipment.

So Tucker took the attachments home, he said, to see if they would work on his own personal skid steer.

Tucker said the attachments fit his equipment but would not work.

Tucker then removed the attachments and placed them on the ground, according to court documents.

Somehow the attachments ended up at the homes of Tucker’s neighbor and mother.

“Yeah I dropped it off there and shoulda brought it back here,” said Tucker in an interview with detectives.

Prosecutors allege that Tucker changed his account of how the attachments ended up at each location.

Tucker said he returned the items to the shop because he knew employees were looking for them.

An acquaintance of Tucker said he was told by Tucker that he had “stumbled on or acquired” a roller and a trencher for the front of a skid steer and wanted to know if he could use them.

Tucker allegedly said he’d obtained the attachments from a surplus.

The man noted that the attachments had the word “county” written on it in yellow paint stick.

The man used the trencher and roller over the course of a year and even made some repairs to the equipment.

Tucker eventually called the man and said he needed the attachments back immediately, according to court documents.

Tucker then took the attachments from the man’s property.

When questioned, Tucker said he “did wrong here,” according to court records.

It was unclear Wednesday if Tucker was being held at the county jail.

It was also unclear whether Tucker was still employed with the county.

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