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Polson man on probation receives prison sentence for new thefts

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A Polson man was sentenced at District Court in Polson on July 14 to eight years in the Montana State Prison with none of that time suspended on theft and criminal mischief charges.

Kenneth Charles Gieber, 23, entered a plea of guilty on May 19 to felony charges of theft and criminal mischief. The plea was entered as part of an agreement that called for eight years with the Montana Department of Corrections with three of those years suspended, but presiding Judge James Manley warned Gieber, on July 7, that he was not willing to go along with the recommended plea agreement and wanted to send Gieber to prison for eight years.

According to court records, on Dec. 9, 2020, Polson police began receiving reports of a black Jeep following FedEx and UPS delivery trucks and stealing the packages delivered to homes in the area. The suspected Jeep was later located in an undeveloped area of the Ridgewater subdivision in Polson. 

The Jeep turned out to be stolen from a residence on Flathead View Drive. When contacted by investigators, the registered owner said he was unaware that the Jeep had been stolen. He said he was out of the state for the winter and that the Jeep should be in his garage. 

The Jeep was initially white and recently painted black. A white Jeep was linked to a string of similar thefts of delivered packages in the Missoula area prior to the Polson thefts. Polson police obtained a warrant to search the Jeep. They allegedly found two mobile phones, a receipt from the Polson Walmart and a receipt from an area pawnshop with Gieber’s name on it. 

One of the mobile phones contained an image or selfie of Gieber while in the Jeep. The Walmart receipt led police to inspect a surveillance video that allegedly showed the Jeep in the early stages of being painted black. Further inspection of the phones turned up “messages referencing dealing drugs, primarily heroin” and attempts to sell stolen property.

The theft and criminal mischief charges are from the theft of and vandalism to the Jeep. Prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to link Gieber to the theft of packages from porches.

Gieber was already on probation for stealing a Polson man’s life savings from a storage unit in Polson. Gieber was sentenced to the Montana Department of Corrections for 20 years with 16 years suspended. The sentence was handed down by Judge James Manley on Oct. 23, 2019. Manley ordered restitution of $263,228.97 in that case. Gieber was ordered to pay restitution of $1,805 in this new case. He was also given credit for time served of 215 days.

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