Whitefish Cops Arrest Suspect in Thefts, Vandalisms

By Beacon Staff

A Libby man was arrested in Whitefish in connection to burglaries, thefts and vandalisms that have occurred in the area.

Andrew Ryan Dlask, 21, was taken into custody after a short vehicle chase and a lengthy pursuit on foot with Whitefish police officers.

According to the Whitefish Police Department, Dlask was riding a stolen bicycle near Idaho Avenue and Waverly Place when he spotted a Nissan pickup truck with its engine running, parked outside a house. Dlask parked the bike and took off in the truck, police say, and soon after the truck’s owner called the police.

About an hour later, a relative of the truck’s owner saw the truck traveling on East Edgewood toward Columbia Falls and called 911. Members of the Columbia Falls Police Department, the Whitefish Police Department and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks converged on the area and cut off avenues of escape.

A Whitefish police lieutenant spotted the truck near the Stoltze sawmill and followed it into the mill’s parking lot. Once there, Dlask allegedly leaped out and fled north into a swampy area with three Whitefish officers in pursuit. After a lengthy chase through thick forest, a creek and a swamp, the officers caught Dlask.

(One of the officers, Shane Erickson, likened the pursuit to the recent Spartan Race he ran in Bigfork.)

According to WPD, Dlask later confessed to three burglaries, numerous attempted burglaries, felony criminal mischief, thefts of six to 10 bikes and car break-ins. He said that he and his accomplice, who he identified as a juvenile male, would steal bikes then cruise around neighborhoods and look for houses where no one appeared to be home.

One would knock while the other served as lookout. If no one answered, they would either force the door open or, in some cases, walked into unlocked houses. At one point, a man on East Second Street in Whitefish watched two burglars try and enter his neighbor’s house, then the neighbor’s car. The man confronted them, and took a picture of Dlask on his cellphone and reported to the police.

The police are still seeking Dlask’s alleged accomplice.

Whitefish Police strongly recommend that people lock their cars and homes.

Dlask is currently incarcerated at the Flathead County Detention Center.

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