18-year sentence handed down to man for burglary
A Lake County man was committed in Polson District Court on June 25 to the Montana Department of Corrections for a total of eighteen years with fourteen years suspended after reaching a plea agreement that cut eighteen crimes down to nine.
Eugene Thomas Germain, 26, was initially facing nine counts of felony burglary, six counts of theft, both misdemeanor and felony, as well as some drug charges. The charges stem from a string of residential burglaries along U.S. Highway 35 and the Mountain Lake Lodge in Woods Bay. Charges also stem from thefts and burglaries at storage units in Condon.
Germain is one of five co-defendants in the crimes that were reported between September and December of 2018. The others are Brandon Tollie, 25, of Woods Bay, Mitchell Bear Raymond, 24, of Bigfork, Crystal Chase, 31, of Woods Bay and Sierra Fischer, 27, of Bigfork.
Tollie was convicted by a jury in December on charges of two counts of felony burglary and two counts of misdemeanor theft. He was later sentenced to a total of twenty years in the Montana State prison with ten years suspended.
Germain’s attorney Britt Cotter told Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher that his client is likely facing a total of forty years of incarceration with twenty-nine years suspended for similar charges in Lincoln, Sanders, Missoula and Flathead counties. Tollie is also facing charges in multiple jurisdictions.
According to court records, a search warrant, executed at Bear Raymond's residence on Jan. 13, 2019, lead to the discovery of numerous stolen items that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office was already investigating.
One east shore resident reported two separate burglaries in September of 2018. One of those burglaries involved a slept-in bed, food eaten and household items missing. The second involved the burglary of a boathouse on the same property.
Other burglaries matched to the stolen items occurred at residences in the Woods Bay area and the Mountain Lake Lodge, which was Tollie’s former place of employment. Surveillance video at the Lodge put Tollie at one of the burglaries. More burglaries and thefts were mentioned in the court affidavits of all three men involving numerous storage units in Condon and the theft of a Jeep Cherokee.
Although restitution is still in dispute by the parties involved, it could be in the neighborhood of $82,000. Most of the restitution is the result of property damage.