Two Men Sentenced in Kalispell-Area Gun Theft

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — Two northwestern Montana men have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a robbery north of Kalispell in which a 16-year-old girl was held at gunpoint.

Steven Alexander Acton, of Libby, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison Thursday during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Helena. Kevin Kenneth Gaethle, of Kalispell, was sentenced to just over four years.

Prosecutors allege Acton, 27, and Bradley Thorpe Thompson, 26, of Kalispell, robbed an acquaintance in July 2011 so they could sell the guns in Oregon and get money to buy drugs. Gaethle, 30, suggested the house to rob and drove the getaway car.

Court records say the men took a gun safe and later removed numerous guns and a small amount of marijuana from it.

Thompson was later stopped with some of the guns in his car. Acton was arrested in Renton, Wash., where officers found some of the stolen guns in his car. Investigators learned the guns were to be taken to Oregon and sold for money to buy drugs.

All three men pleaded guilty to robbery affecting commerce. Acton and Thomas also pleaded guilty to using of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Thompson was sentenced to nearly six years in prison in September.

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