Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On December 4, 2023, University of Montana Police received a report of computer items stolen from a room in the Liberal Arts Building. The computer items were valued at $35,000. Staff did not know exactly when the theft occurred, but knew they were taken from behind locked doors which only have limited access by appropriate staff.

On January 8, 2024, UMPD was alerted to other incidents involving a suspicious person and another theft from the same area. One incident occurred on January 4, 2024, at 2:17 a.m. In the video, there is a male dressed in dark clothing advancing down a hallway. He peers through a glass door, then it appears that he spotted someone and leaves.  

Approximately 10 minutes later, this person re-appears and turns off the lights. He stops in front of another door and attempts to open it with a key or some other tool, but he is unsuccessful and leaves. About 10 minutes after that, the male is confronted by custodial staff and leaves the building. He was later identified as 35-year-old Tommy Holliday. 

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On January 7, 2024, at approximately 4:51 in the morning, a male appears in the same hallway as the January 4 video. The male exits an interior door with two boxes. He places the boxes on a bench and shuts the door. He walks with one box until he can no longer be seen on camera. He then returns, removes the other box, and leaves the area of the camera. 

Staff Locate the Suspect

On January 9, 2024, UMPD was watching video at approximately 3:49 in the morning. They observe the same male entering a room on a surveillance video. This building is closed to the public after hours and is locked. UMPD responds to the area right away. While searching the area, another security official radioed them that the male was observed entering a mechanical room next to the Information Technology Office.  

UMPD rushed to the mechanical room and when they got there, the male came out and was placed under arrest for trespass. During a search incident to arrest, police found a set of UM keys, leather gloves, and a flashlight. He was identified by his license as Holliday. 

Holliday was taken to the UMPD station and was Mirandized. He admitted he used the keys to enter the office. He said he was looking for boxes. Holliday is a past student and employee of UM but had been neither for at least two years. Holliday said the keys were given to him when he was a graduate student two years ago. Holliday stated that his vehicle was parked nearby and it was later found in a parking lot on campus. 

Multiple Boxes Were in Holliday's Vehicle

A UMPD Detective obtained a search warrant for Holliday’s vehicle. There were boxes in the backseat and one was identified by IT as similar to what was stolen. There was another large box with a new computer printer and parts for a printer. There were also receipts in the car indicating recent USPS shipments to out-of-state addresses. 

The vehicle was registered to a woman named J.D. The Detective spoke to J.D. and learned she is Holliday’s girlfriend. She said he earns income by selling items on E-bay. She said she would consent to a search of their home for any property belonging to UM.

UMPD went to the shared home and in a downstairs bathroom/storage area, there were multiple boxes in plain view. J.D. said they were items that Holliday would ship to his E-bay customers. One box contained a new unused router, another contained 10 modems in their original packaging, another had five modems, and another had a large toner cartridge. Two of the boxes matched photos from surveillance of boxes taken and court documents indicate a full inventory is ongoing. 

Holliday is currently being charged with two counts of felony burglary and felony attempted burglary. 

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

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