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Man charged in storage unit theft sentenced to 10 years

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District Judge James Manley ordered a Bigfork man to pay restitution of $1,038,035 and sentenced him to the maximum penalty of 10 years in the Montana State Prison for felony theft. 

The sentence was handed down at District Court in Polson on Feb. 3. The charge stems from a storage unit theft in the Bigfork area. Robert Earl Staudenmayer, 35, will have to serve the entire 10 years as the judge ruled for no parole restriction. 

“If I could, I would sentence you to more time,” said Manley. Staudenmayer was given credit for 90-days jail time already served.

Manley ordered the sentence to run consecutive to any other sentences, including a 10-year sentence with no parole restriction handed down by Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher on Sept. 17 for bail jumping, which Staudenmayer took to trial and lost. He was ordered to pay $6,171.85 for the cost of that trial. The bail jumping charge stemmed from missing court appearances for the storage unit theft charge.

Staudenmayer was initially charged with money laundering and tampering with witnesses in addition to theft, but those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement reached in December. Another tampering charge before Judge Christopher was dismissed.

The items taken from the storage unit belonged to a retired airline pilot who served in the Marine Corp during WWII and flew fighter planes. He reported the storage unit burglary in June of 2018 and said he had not checked it since September of 2017. He said about $300,000 in gold bars, coins, artwork, guns and a safe were taken. He told the judge that about 80 percent of his life savings was in the unit. He said he recovered about five percent of it.

Staudenmayer’s co-defendants have already been adjudicated for their roles in the matter. Richard Gordon, 52, also of Bigfork, was sentenced to 10 years to the Montana State Prison with seven years suspended for theft and 10 years with seven years suspended for money laundering. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,038,035.

Joshua Wilson, 41, of Kalispell, was sentenced to the Montana State Prison for 10 years with six years suspended for one count of theft.

Manley told Staudenmayer that he showed no remorse to the victim, continues to be in contempt of court orders and is extremely manipulative and dishonest. Manley also pointed out that Staudenmayer got a former detention officer in the Lake County jail to provide him with a phone that he shared with other inmates. 


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