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Simmons pleads guilty to felonies

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POLSON — A sentencing date of March 29 has been set for a Polson man accused of two separate burglaries. Michael Leroy Simmons Jr., 36, entered a plea of guilty at District Court in Polson on Feb. 8 to two counts of burglary, one count theft and criminal possession, all felonies. The pleas were entered as part of a plea agreement that will dismiss one count of theft and one count of criminal mischief.

According to court records, on Nov. 7, 2022, an employee of the Depoe Junction was reviewing surveillance video of the shop from Oct. 21, 2022, when he noticed images of Simmons stealing chainsaws. Simmons also pleaded guilty to burglarizing the Finley Point Grill on Jan. 5. In that burglary, access was gained through an unlocked door at the restaurant. Two men were seen on the surveillance camera using a grinder to gain access to an ATM inside the restaurant. Approximately $5,000 was taken. The owner of the restaurant said the ATM was a total loss and would cost more than $1,500 to repair.

Police used video surveillance from the Finley Point Grill and at the Polson hotel where Simmons was staying the night of the January burglary to identify Simmons as the suspect. Police were also able to identify an accomplice in the Finley Point Grill burglary as Michael Christian Duncan, 28. Duncan confirmed that he and Simmons had broken into the restaurant and used a grinder to gain access to the ATM. Duncan is also facing criminal charges for his involvement. He entered a plea of not guilty at District Court on Feb. 9 to burglary, criminal mischief, and theft. Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set his trial date for July 10.

Simmons case is before Judge Molly Owen. Simmons remains in the Lake County jail with bail totaling $55,000.

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