Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On March 9, 2023, Missoula Police Department Officers were dispatched separately to a report of suspicious activity in the 1000 block of Burton Street. The caller told an officer that two males appeared to be cutting the catalytic converter off a large U-Haul truck.

The caller also advised that the two males had a silver pickup truck with a large blue tub in the back of it and out-of-state license plates. The caller sent six photographs he captured with his iPhone of the suspects who were later identified as Gary Wood and Lono Drummond out of Washington. 

When the officer arrived, he observed Drummond driving a U-Haul truck. The officer pursued the U-Haul and could hear that it was unusually loud, indicating that the catalytic converter had been removed. Two officers observed the U-Haul truck running with the door open and unoccupied in the alleyway.  

An officer looked under the U-Haul and noticed that the catalytic converter was cut out of the vehicle, the gas tank had a large hole drilled into the top of it, and the tank was nearly empty. The officer called the U-Haul on Strand Avenue to determine who rented the vehicle.  

An employee advised that it was not rented out, but apparently had been stolen and they had yet to realize it. The officer then contacted the U-Haul manager who stated that the truck was valued between $70,000 and $100,000, the gas tank replacement estimate was $2,000, and the catalytic converter replacement estimate was $2,000. The manager said there were approximately 25 gallons of gas in the tank when it was stolen. 

According to court documents, a second caller advised that a male entered her yard in the 1400 block of Sherwood Street. Through her camera, she saw the male open her gate and run through her backyard. A third caller reported that the U-Haul’s passenger side wheel smashed the rear bumper of his vehicle. An officer determined this occurred when Drummond crashed the U-Haul and abandoned it in the alleyway. 

Another officer located Wood’s silver Toyota truck near the 900 block of Cooper Street. Another officer arrived at the scene and witnessed Wood walking around the corner of the garage. The officer ordered Wood to show his hands, detained him in handcuffs, and placed him in a patrol vehicle. Separately, two other officers located Drummond hiding in a nearby trailer and placed him under arrest. 

Based on all the evidence, an officer determined that Wood and Drummond stole the U-Haul truck, removed its catalytic converter, damaged its gas tank together, and stole the gas from the gas tank. When they were caught cutting the catalytic converter, Wood fled the scene in the Toyota, while Drummond fled in the U-Haul truck, crashed it, fled the scene of the accident, and then trespassed the backyard on Sherwood Street. 

Both Wood and Drummond are currently being charged with felony criminal mischief and two counts of felony theft. Drummond is also being charged with leaving the scene of an accident and criminal trespass to property. 

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.

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