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Man accused of vandalism at Billings airport arraigned on felony charges

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Posted at 10:42 AM, Dec 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-12 13:16:14-05

BILLINGS - A man who described himself as an "urban camper" was arraigned Tuesday in Yellowstone County District Court on charges related to vandalism at Billings Logan International Airport.

Jared Oscar Saffold, 27, appeared in court by video from the Yellowstone County jail and pleaded not guilty to felony charges of arson, attempted arson, and criminal mischief. Saffold also pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge.

Judge Thomas Pardy agreed to release Saffold on his own recognizance following a recommendation by prosecutors, but he ordered the man to stay away from the Billings airport except for court-approved travel.

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Jared Oscar Saffold was arraigned Tuesday on charges related to vandalism at the Billings airport.

Saffold was arrested early Monday morning after a cab driver noticed a man throw a large rock through an airport glass window and spray paint exterior walls and windows of the airport entrance area. The cab driver, Lucas Smith, said he asked some rental car company employees to call security, then tried to stop the man from setting fire to the building.

RELATED: 'I'm going to stop you': Cabbie recalls encounter with suspect in Billings airport vandalism

Smith told authorities he saw Saffold attempt to start a fire in the entryway of door #3 with lighter fluid and a lighter and went to kick the lighter fluid away, stating "this is not going to happen," court records state. The two men then began to scuffle and Smith went to the ground before Saffold allegedly continued to spray paint the building. Smith then went inside to inform airport security.

Court records state officers later found that a fire had been started in a different airport exit area where small camping propane bottles were located, including one that had exploded. Officers also found a machete, a folding pocket knife, a burnt canvas bag, and several other items, court records state.

During his arraignment, Saffold said he was a senior in college. When asked where he lived he described himself as "technically urban camper" and "homeless."