Three Kalispell residents are accused of planning and executing a robbery at a local casino last month.
Andrew Taylor Nelson, Mason Rockwell Smith and Nicolette Star Levengood all appeared at an arraignment in Flathead County District Court before Judge Robert Allison on Feb. 16.
Smith, 26, and Nelson, 22, are charged with felony robbery and kidnapping and Levengood, 20, is charged with felony accountability to robbery and tampering or fabricating with physical evidence. All three defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to court documents, Smith and Nelson walked into a Kalispell casino at 2:20 a.m. on Jan. 10 brandishing a handgun. The two men ordered a casino employee to turn around and not look at them while they emptied the casino’s safe and money box into duffle bags. The men then ordered the woman into a back room, took her cell phone and told her to stay there for 30 minutes.
Using security camera footage, detectives with the Kalispell Police Department were able to identify Smith and Nelson as the primary suspects. Police searched Nelson’s home and discovered several thousand dollars hidden in cereal boxes. Nelson was arrested later that day and admitted that he robbed the casino, according to charging documents.
During the investigation, officers also learned that Nelson’s girlfriend, Levengood, worked at the casino that was robbed. According to witnesses, Levengood told the two men the best time of day to rob the casino and where the panic button was located. Levengood allegedly told friends that Smith and Nelson had been planning the robbery for several weeks. On Jan. 11 and 12, Nelson spoke with Levengood from the jail. During those conversations, Nelson told the woman to delete text messages between the two presumably talking about the robbery.
Nelson is currently serving a five-year deferred sentence after being convicted of aggravated assault for beating a man with a golf club during a 2013 road rage incident.
If convicted, Nelson, Smith and Levengood could each spend up to 50 years in prison.