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Three jailed after western Montana crime spree

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Posted at 2:32 PM, Dec 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-26 16:33:56-05

Three people were arrested in Polson as a result of a lengthy investigation into a series of crimes in the Mission Valley.

Sheriff Don Bell says a months-long investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office -- with help from the Montana Highway Patrol and Flathead Tribal Police -- has resulted in deputies solving a string of thefts and burglaries.

Bell added that law enforcement has also recovered parts of a stolen truck owned by the state of Montana, and developed suspects in a couple of cases in which law enforcement officers were targeted by local criminals.

A total of eight search warrants were conducted and numerous items were recovered and returned to their rightful owners, according to a news release.

Todd Lozeau, 36, of Charlo, was arrested after running from officers during the execution of a search warrant. He has been charged with one count of burglary, two counts of tampering with evidence, felony theft. Bell notes that theft and burglary related charges are also pending in the case.

Paul Groom, 43 of Charlo, was arrested on an outstanding warrant has been charged with one count of burglary and one count of theft.

Tanya Phillips was arrested on an outstanding warrant and has been charged with burglary and theft.

Bell says that as a result of the search warrants, parts and pieces of a truck owned by the Montana Department of Transportation were located and recovered.

The truck was stolen from the Dillon area in mid-October and a suspect in the theft has been identified. Lozeau has also been charged with crimes related to the possession of the vehicle parts and for crimes related to the dismantlement and concealment of the vehicle.

Bell notes that the investigation has also turned up information on possible suspects in the case of buckets of nails being dumped on county roads directly in front of the homes of law enforcement officers. Thousands of dollars in damages resulted after the officers and area residents ran over the nails, according to a news release.

The investigation is ongoing and Bell says the Lake County commissioners have stated they will provide award money to anyone providing the sheriff’s office with information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in this case. Anyone with information is asked to contact Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Steve Larson at (406) 249-3021.

Bell says that deputies have also developed a suspect in a case where a local law enforcement officer’s family dog was abducted, beaten, and dumped at a truck stop in St. Regis. The dog was returned to its family.

This case also remains under investigation and anyone with further information is asked to contact Deputy Larson.