Just days before robbing a casino in Missoula, carjacking a Washington State family and leading authorities on a high speed chase while shooting at responding officers, Nicholas West, Thomas Dempsey and accomplice Carissa Kopp also allegedly robbed a Lucky Lil's Casino in Stevensville.

photo from MCSO
Nick West

The incidents, which took place in May, 2016, brought lengthy sentences in federal court. The three will appear in Ravalli County District Court sometime next week.

photo from MCSO
Carissa Kopp

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright said the three will be charged with felony robbery and aggravated kidnapping.

"The federal prosecution has been completed and the three have been transferred to the Ravalli County Detention Center," Fulbright said. "We have charged them in Ravalli County for the aggravated kidnapping fin addition to the robbery in Stevensville. During the course of the robber at the Lucky Lil's the restraint of the customers and personnel where they were locked in a room and held at gunpoint, and that constitutes aggravated kidnapping."

Fulbright said the three have already received lengthy federal prison sentences, so he is not anticipating sentences in the Montana State Prison.

"They could receive up to 40 years, but a much more realistic goal would be the restitution that's owed here," he said. "That would be for the money allegedly stolen here, as well as for whatever the victims went through."

On May 27, West and Dempsey robbed the Deano's Casino at the Wye. After the mother, father, grandmother and two children had left the scene, they called 9-1-1 to report the robbery. While they were pulled over waiting to be interviewed by authorities, the two suspects carjacked their vehicle, a 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, with them as hostages. Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott laid out the timeline of the events that occurred Friday morning.

“A deputy was able to begin negotiations with the suspects through the mother’s cell phone, and the suspects demanded that pursuing vehicles fall back or they would shoot someone in the vehicle,” McDermott said. “The deputy was able to convince the suspects to first release a 12 year-old boy on Reserve Street, and later to release a 14 year-old girl along with her grandmother at the intersection of Russell and West Broadway.”

McDermott said it was heartbreaking for the parents to have to say goodbye to their loved ones not knowing if they would ever see them alive again.

“At this point, one of he suspects began driving the vehicle,” he said. “Near the intersection of Dore Lane and Brooks the male driver turned around and then fired multiple shots at pursuing vehicles driven by deputies and officers.The suspects refused to release the mother and the father. The pursuit now continued at a very high rate of speed through Missoula. At 0521 hours, dispatch was contacted by the two remaining family members who reported that they had been released by by the suspects who fled on food at Sweetgrass Lane off Highway 93 North."

Eventually, West and Dempsey were arrested at different locations, along with Kopp and another female accomplice and were placed in federal custody.


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