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Auld sent to prison for attempted robbery

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An Elmo man, Peter James Auld, 31, was committed at District Court in Polson Jan. 23 to the state Department of Corrections for three years with one year suspended on an attempted robbery charge. 

The sentence, handed down by Judge James Manley, followed the recommendation of a plea agreement reached on Dec. 18.

According to court records, a Polson woman was at home when she looked out her window on the morning of June 17, 2018, and saw a man getting into her vehicle. The woman signaled to the man, but he ignored her. She then went outside equipped with a camera in an attempt to get a picture of the man entering her vehicle. According to records, he “tried to hide his face with a drink then began chasing after the woman.” 

The woman’s husband told responding Polson Police Officer Keith Deetz that the man was stealing items from his vehicle, throwing stuff at his wife and slugging her. The woman told the officer that the man was hitting her with a rope that had a knot tied at the end of it. The officer reported the woman had marks on her face consistent with her story. 

Deetz located a man a short distance away that fit the description of the suspect provided by the alleged victim and her husband. When Deetz asked the man to stop walking, he took off on foot. The officer was able to apprehend the man. When questioned, the man later identified as Auld said he was drunk and didn’t remember anything.

The victim lives near a reported “flop house” at 608 2nd Street West that was reportedly where Auld had frequented prior to the attempted robbery. This residence is the subject of civil litigation of which the victim is a complainant. The civil case is a nuisance lawsuit filed by Polson Attorney Britt Cotter seeking an injunction that prohibits offensive and illegal conduct at the residence and limits occupancy to immediate family members only. 

The court, through Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher, granted a temporary restraining order granting temporary relief. According to the complaint, Polson Police responded to this residence 67 times in 2018 alone. One of the responses included a drug raid on Aug. 31, 2018, that resulted in seven people being arrested on various drug possession charges. 

Another high profile police response to the residence occurred on Sept. 28, 2018, when federal fugitive Eli Stops barricaded himself in the attic. Police had to deploy tear gas to get Stops to surrender.

This is not Auld’s first criminal case in front of Judge Manley. Auld was sentenced by Manley on July 5, 2017, to the Lake County Jail for six months with all but three days served suspended for stealing a car in September 2016. In that matter, Auld was convicted of stealing a woman’s 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse. The car was returned to the owner with damages to which Auld was held responsible for paying restitution in the amount of $1,120.

Manley recommended Auld be screened for any appropriate drug treatment programs provided by the DOC and pre-release. Auld was given credit for having served two days in jail.

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