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Breese pleads not guilty to impersonation charge

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POLSON — District Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set a trial date of Jan. 24, 2022, for a Polson man accused of posing as a firefighter at the Boulder 2700 fire this summer.

Donald Stephen Breese, 48, entered a plea of not guilty on Aug. 26, to felony impersonating a public servant and misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer.

According to charging documents, on Aug. 1, a Lake County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a report of someone impersonating a firefighter at the Finley Point Fire Hall. Witnesses told the deputy that a man, later identified as Breese, drove to the fire hall wearing green Nomex pants, a shirt bearing the Missoula Fire Lab insignia and portable radio equipped with a harness. At one point the man claimed to be incident commander and head of the forest service.

The man was able to gain access to the fire area during the early stages of the fire as homes were being destroyed. 

It was later determined that Breese was not with the Missoula Fire Lab or a part of any other fire agency. 

Deputies with the Lake County Sheriff’s office executed a search warrant at Breese’s Polson residence on Aug. 4, and located the Nomex pants as well as other firefighting gear. Photos taken in the early stages of the Boulder 2700 fire were also recovered from the home.

Breese is due back in court for an omnibus hearing on Dec. 9.

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