Brian Michael Valdez, 26, allegedly told law enforcement he remembered shooting out the door at Angler’s Roost and stealing items from inside the Hamilton store.
According to a charging affidavit, the Anaconda man said he broke into the business by himself “because he was blackout drunk and the night got bad after that.”
Valdez appeared Monday before Ravalli County Justice Jim Bailey on felony counts of burglary, theft and criminal mischief. He was also charged with misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and driving while his license was suspended or revoked.
Ravalli County Deputy Attorney Daniel Browder’s charging affidavit said a Ravalli County Sheriff's deputy found the front doors of Angler’s Roost shattered at about 1 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 14. He also spotted multiple spent ammunition casings on the ground nearby and numerous items strewn about inside the business.
The door from the store into the residential portion of the building appeared to have been kicked in and it looked as if someone had rifled through all the drawers and cabinets.
The deputy had noticed an older-model Chevrolet long-bed pickup at the Angler’s Roost location earlier that evening with a Montana license plate with a number 1 first digit. Believing the vehicle may have traveled south, the deputy contacted Darby Town Marshall Larry Rose and asked him to look at surveillance footage for the pickup.
Back at Angler’s Roost, an investigating officer found six .40 caliber casings outside the front door. It appeared the rounds had been shot through the front door and into the carpet before ricocheting off the concrete floor. More bullets and casings were found inside the building. Two bullets had struck a beer cooler.
Multiple boxes of ammunition were strewn on the floor and on the counter. Wading boots had been torn out of their boxes and had been thrown about.
On a chair in the northwest corner of the store, on top of a carton of Marlboro cigarettes, the officer found a black Ruger SR40 .40 caliber automatic handgun, with the slide locked back and the magazine emptied. The officer noticed a pronounced fingerprint below the barrel.
While Rose was reviewing video in his Darby office, he observed an older silver Chevrolet pickup drive south through Darby. He ran the license plate, which identified Valdez as the owner.
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Rose found the pickup parked and unoccupied at the south end of town near the Darby Logger Days grounds. He noted the pickup was full of firearms, fishing supplies and medicine similar to what had been disturbed at Angler’s Roost.
Darby’s two town marshals found Valdez on the ground a short distance from the truck and detained him.
After a sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene, the affidavit said Valdez admitted that it was his truck parked nearby, but claimed that his friends had parked it there and left in their Mitsubishi. Valdez allegedly claimed the firearms in the truck were his. He also claimed to own a black Ruger pistol like the one found in Angler’s Roost.
Valdez also admitted that he had consumed a lot of alcohol that night, according to the affidavit.
When the deputy asked Valdez if he had burglarized the Hamilton business, he said he was “blackout drunk” and didn’t remember.
Officers collected live rounds of ammunition on the ground where Valdez had been lying when the marshals found him. The rounds were 9x18 Maratov and matched the ones found at Angler’s Roost.
When an officer showed him the cartridges and asked Valdez what caliber they were, he seemed confused and said “20” several times. The affidavit said multiple rifles, a box of children’s medicine and numerous unopened packages of fishing gear with Angler’s Roost price stickers were found in the truck.
At the detention center, Valdez admitted he had driven the truck to the spot where it was parked, the affidavit said. He also admitted he had been drinking alcohol before driving it.
When an officer asked Valdez again about shooting out the doors of the business and burglarizing it, the affidavit said Valdez said he remembered shooting out the door and stealing items. He didn’t recall taking any firearms, but did remember taking other items, including cigarettes.
Bailey set bail at $20,000.