On Saturday, Missoula Police Department Officers were dispatched to a report of a theft of a power wheelchair from Bob’s Sew and Vac. The officers responded and apprehended the female driver of the power wheelchair. Police Public Information Officer Lydia Arnold explains.

“41-year-old Sandra Braaten was arrested for felony theft after she took an electric wheelchair valued at over $30,000 that was sitting outside of a business,” Arnold said. “Dispatch received multiple 911 calls from the callers who witnessed the theft. They were able to point out Braaten as officers arrived on scene.”

Court documents indicate Braaten said she took the wheelchair after she tripped and hurt her back. She said she believed the wheelchair was free because it was in front of the store.

“When police confronted Braaten, she made comments and ranted about things that did not have anything to do with the incident,” Arnold said. “Braaten made a comment about being on drugs, but that was never confirmed. The wheelchair was recovered and Braaten was taken into custody for theft.”

Based on her actions and behavior, an officer believed Braaten was likely under the influence of methamphetamine.

The officers then spoke with a male who stated his wife had left her power wheelchair in front of Butterfly Herbs for a brief time and when they returned, it was gone. The male saw Braaten and called 911. The value of the power wheelchair is estimated to be $34,000. Braaten was charged with one count of felony theft.

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