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Michel pleads not guilty to burglary, drug charges

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A Lake County man is accused of breaking into private property and stealing about $8,000 worth of items and tools. Jeremiah L. Michel, 46, entered a plea of not guilty at District Court in Polson on Feb. 25 to felony counts of burglary and criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

According to court records, on Jan. 28, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Fernando Venegas responded to a report of a suspicious truck trespassing on the neighbor’s property of the reporting individual.  

The caller informed dispatch that no one should be at the residence as the owners were away for the winter. The caller then drove her vehicle to the suspicious vehicle’s location and parked in a way that blocked the suspicious vehicle from leaving. She then confronted the occupants. One passenger fled into the woods, while the driver, identified as Michel, threatened to ram the woman’s vehicle with his vehicle. As this was happening, an accomplice attempted to sneak around her vehicle, and she drew a firearm, causing the accomplice to flee on foot.

Michel stayed with his vehicle until Venegas arrived and placed him under arrest. A search of Michel’s vehicle turned up a pair of 20-ton bottle jacks and bolt cutters. Michel allegedly had a small amount of methamphetamine on him when he was booked into the Lake County jail.

The property owner compiled a list of items that were taken from a cabin and a garage on the property. Access to the cabin was gained through a broken window.

District Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set the case for trial on Aug. 23. Michel remains in the Lake County jail with bond set at $50,000.

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