Rash of Home Burglaries Plague Flathead County

By Beacon Staff

Flathead County Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a rash of burglaries at homes throughout the unincorporated areas of Flathead County.

Forty homes were burglarized between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, according to Detective Commander Jeanne Landis of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Department. Twelve of those cases came in a 10-day stretch in mid-November.

All cases are under investigation, Landis said. She said detectives don’t believe all of the burglaries are connected, but think several of the crimes could be related. No arrests had been made as of Friday.

Most of the affected homes were unoccupied and unlocked. Around 50 percent of the burglaries occurred during daylight hours, Landis said. The most common items stolen were firearms, prescriptions and electrical equipment.

Landis encouraged people to lock their homes and form relationships with their neighbors. She also said people should retain manufacturers manuals for expensive items and record serial numbers to help detectives track and return stolen items.

“It’s very difficult for people to prove to their insurance companies that items were stolen or to prove they are theirs if items are retrieved, because they don’t write down this information,” Landis said. “Spend half an hour and write down serial numbers, or walk through your home with a video camera.”

The thefts occurred in a variety of neighborhoods located throughout the county, but seemed to be isolated to Flathead’s unincorporated areas. Authorities at Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls police departments said those cities had few to no burglaries in recent months.

Kalispell Chief of Police Roger Nasset said Kalispell had not experienced a serious problem with home burglaries, but had several reported thefts from cars since September.
From Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, there were 117 thefts from vehicles – many of them unlocked. Nasset reminded residents to lock their doors, especially when doing holiday shopping, a prime time for those types of thefts.