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Westland Seed burglar sentenced

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POLSON — Matthew Adam Darnell, 25, Pablo, in a plea agreement was sentenced to DOC for 20 years with 17 suspended for burglary; to DOC for 20 years with 17 suspended for each of two counts of attempt (burglary); and 10 years, all suspended, for theft. All offenses were felonies. All counts are to run concurrent.

According to court documents, charges stem from a Jan. 21 incident where Darnell was part of a multi-day, multi-target crime spree that began in Ronan and ended in Adams County, Washington. 

Darnell told investigators that on Jan. 21 he was high on methamphetamine when he received a call from a woman who told him that Thomas Earl Dempsey, 33, of Ronan, would pay $400 for him to drive a car. Dempsey picked Darnell up from the Northwood Trailer Park in a 1989 Porsche that was stolen from the Ronan airport a few days earlier. The duo headed out with a plan to steal guns from multiple establishments. 

Dempsey and Darnell tried to break the glass door of Ronan Sports and Western in Ronan at 4:31 a.m., but fled when an alarm sounded, and the pair drove to DePoe Junction in Polson and cut the lock on the door. The alleged thieves were thwarted by again an alarm that sounded at 5:15 a.m. They headed back toward Ronan. When the pair arrived at the Ronan airport, Dempsey went into a building and retrieved keys for the courtesy car. Dempsey gave Darnell the keys and told him to follow the Porsche to Westland Seed. 

Darnell rammed the airport car through the building and in eight minutes, stole more than five guns. 

When law enforcement arrived they found the courtesy car still in gear.

On Jan. 23 Darnell was arrested by authorities in Washington on burglary charges in that state. Upon interrogation, he confessed to authorities his involvement with the Lake County crimes. 

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