Gieber receives 20 years for burglary
A Polson man was committed to the state Department of Corrections for a total of 20 years with 16 years suspended on a felony burglary charge. Kenneth Charles Gieber, 21, was also ordered to pay restitution of $263,228.97.
The sentence was handed down at District Court in Polson on Oct. 23 by Judge James Manley, and it doubled the plea agreement reached in August.
Gieber was initially looking at six years in the DOC with three years suspended and $197,385.97 in restitution; however, Manley went against the plea agreement after learning more about the case and the impact on the victim through a required pre-sentence investigation. The victim’s entire life-savings was taken.
According to court records, on Jan. 16, 2018, the owners of a storage unit business in Polson reported break-ins to several units. A Polson police officer arrived to find the locks cut to several storage units. The renter of one of the affected units reported numerous items missing, including $150,000 in Krugerrands, other rare coins, firearms, tools, swords and other rare items.
On Jan. 18, 2018, authorities in Kootenai County Idaho reported arresting Gieber for the unlawful discharge of a weapon. He was allegedly in possession of some of the stolen items, including rare coins, firearms and a large set of bolt cutters. Gieber was also in possession of a key to a storage unit in Polson that belonged to his sister.
On Jan. 22, 2018, the rental unit owners provided Polson police with video footage of surveillance cameras that showed what appeared to be Gieber’s sister handling some of the items that may have been stolen.
When questioned, the sister implicated her brother and Nicholas Gaither. Gaither was arrested in Missoula County after he had attempted to sell Krugerrands to area coin shops. A search of his vehicle turned up more of the stolen items. Gaither told investigators that he had already sold about $20,000 worth of Krugerrands. Gaither also admitted to his role in the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in rare coins, collectors watches, guns, antique guns, family heirlooms and other valuable items from a storage unit in Polson.
The victim of the theft case, who we have chosen not to identify, told the court that some of the items stolen may never be recovered and were handed down through generations, including a rifle from the Revolutionary War.
Gaither was set to be released on April 4, 2018, on those matters when detention staff found him attempting to hide a baggie under his foot as he was changing into his street clothes. The baggie contained what appeared to be a black tarry substance that Gaither said he knew was heroin. He told detention staff that he found the baggie sticking out of a vent in the jail’s exercise room and that it was worth a lot of money. He admitted to staff that the baggie dropped out of his underwear as he was dressing out of his orange jumpsuit to be released. The baggie of heroin weighed more than 30 grams.
Gaither would have the imposition of sentencing deferred for a period 10 years, meaning he stays out of jail if he stays out trouble during that period. That changed on April 4, however, when the heroin was found. Gaither was committed to the Montana State Department of Corrections for total of 10 years with four years suspended and also ordered to pay the restitution of $197,385.97.
The pre-sentence investigation in Gieber’s case revealed more items stolen resulting in his larger restitution. Gieber was also sentenced to two years at the DOC on a drug possession charge that will run concurrent to the burglary charge. Manley ran Gieber’s sentence with a 10-year term in Idaho. A theft charge was dismissed.
Gieber’s sentencing had been delayed to allow the court time to consider recorded phone conversations Gieber had while incarcerated in Idaho. The conversations reportedly revealed where some of the stolen items were cached (two different sites in Polson were searched) but nothing was ever found. Gieber claims the items are where he said they’d be and that he has divulged everything he knows about the whereabouts of his victim’s belongings. He also offered his victim an apology and acknowledged his presence in the courtroom.