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Missoula County Deputies Rarely Encounter “Garage Hopping” Crimes

Surveilance Photo, Diren Dede
Photo courtesy of KECI/NBC Montana

National coverage of the Diren Dede shooting has shined a bright light on a type of juvenile crime called “garage hopping,” in which multiple garages will be robbed in quick succession. Despite all the press, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Paige Pavalone says that even calls about garage burglaries are fairly rare.

“Speaking from the end of the Sheriff’s Department, it is not a frequent occurrence,” Pavalone said. “Burglary; it does happen, several times a month, where people will enter and remain within an occupied structure with the purpose to commit an offense therein. So they go into a house, or a garage, a garage is now considered an occupied structure if it is attached to the home. It does happen, but not frequently.”

Garage hopping appears to be even more rare. Pavalone says that reports of multiple vehicles being broken into happens fairly frequently, but the same type of crime in occupied structures practically never happens.

“I sit in briefing and I hear about these these calls coming in, and it doesn’t appear to me, in recent history, that we’ve ever responded to a series of burglaries into garages, common scheme, like you would see in vehicle break-ins. So I can’t say that it is a common thing, no.”

If garage hopping is a trend in Missoula, it appears to be relegated to an extremely small number of youths inside city limits.

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