Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On March 29, 2023, a report of a burglary at the Missoula Electric Cooperative was received. Missoula Police Department officers arrived. A MEC employee told an officer that unknown person(s) had gained access to the secured lot of the business by cutting a fence before stealing numerous items.  

According to the employee, several saws, climbing gear, equipment, and tools were stolen. He told the officer the replacement value of all the stolen items was approximately $24,000. 

Further investigation revealed a bottle of Fireball whiskey and flashlights left at the scene. The officer viewed video surveillance showing what appeared to be a male and female in the act of stealing some of the items. Video surveillance from a nearby business also showed the suspects in the area and possibly associated with a dark-colored passenger car. 

On April 9, 2023, an MPD Detective revealed that he learned additional information regarding this investigation. The detective said within days of the burglary, he became aware that two of the chainsaws were being sold on Craigslist. The detective arranged to purchase the chainsaws from a male at the Tractor Supply in Couer D’Alene Idaho. Officers from the Couer d’Alene Police Department assisted and arrested the male at the Tractor Supply.  

The male told officers that he bought them from a resident in Missoula. The MPD detective knew this resident from a prior call from service and she told him that 30-year-old Katy Sutton and 36-year-old Ivan Prindel had stolen the chainsaws and stored them temporarily on her property. 

The detective met with the original officer and viewed a still frame of Sutton on the night of the burglary. The detective also learned that, on April 6, 2023, a Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Deputy made a routine stop on Mullan Road in Frenchtown. During the traffic stop, a stolen firearm was recovered and the driver of the car stated he bought the gun from someone named “Ivan.” 

The detective contacted Prindel and Sutton at the Missoula Probation and Parole office where Prindel had a scheduled visit. Both were detained, Mirandized, and questioned. Prindel denied involvement and claimed Sutton burglarized the MEC with another male. 

According to court documents, Sutton confessed that she and Prindel burglarized the MEC and her fingerprints would be on the bottle of Fireball whiskey. When confronted with this information, Prindel continued to deny involvement. As he was walking past Sutton, he told her to blame the burglary on another male. They were both arrested. 

The detective re-interviewed Sutton and Prindel. They were reminded of their Miranda rights, and given the chance to have them re-read, which they both declined. At that time, Prindel admitted he burglarized the MEC with Sutton and showed the detective cellphone messages referencing the theft of the firearm and the chainsaws. 

Prindel and Sutton are both currently being charged with felony burglary, felony theft, and four counts of misdemeanor theft.

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

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