Swindler awaits sentencing after guilty plea
A Woods Bay man entered a plea of guilty at District Court in Polson on March 11 to felony theft. Michael Austin Swindler, 30, was accused of stealing a dump truck from a storage unit in Woods Bay.
According to court records, on Aug. 21, 2018, a man reported his 2009 Chevy Tiltmaster Dump Truck was missing from his storage unit. The manager of the storage unit told investigators that a man wearing a medical-brace boot had been at the storage unit two days prior to the theft report to check on his mother’s RV, which was also stored there.
A medical-brace boot was later located in a boat at the storage facility that was also tampered with. A shoe was also found in the boat that matched a shoe left in the RV, which was worn by the man who was there to check on the boat for his mother. When questioned, Swindler admitted to being in the boat and stealing the dump truck. He also provided the location of the dump truck, which was later located in Helena.
The guilty plea came as part of a plea agreement that comes with a joint recommendation of five years with the Montana Department of Corrections all suspended and credit for time served. District Judge James Manley granted Swindler an own recognizance release and set sentencing for April 29.