A Havre man is accused of stealing two vehicles in three days from two First Street locations in Havre.
Isaac Alexander Chapa pleaded not guilty Monday in District Court to two counts of felony theft.
He is being held in the Hill County Detention Center on a $35,000 bond. Chapa’s request for release was denied and a bail hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13.
Here is what happened, according to official court charging documents:
On Dec. 11, someone called the police to report that his 2007 Chevrolet pickup bearing Hawaii license plates was stolen from the Town Pump convenience store, 136 First St. W.
The man said he parked his pickup outside the south doors and left the motor running. He bought a few items and when he returned, his vehicle was gone. The Kelly Blue Book lists the value of the pickup at between $9,200 and $11,400.
A store employee told police that Chapa was in the store trying to buy beer but was denied because he didn’t have an ID on him. The employee said Chapa then got into the person’s pickup and drove off.
In the convenience store video, Chapa enters the store and tries to buy a case of Budweiser. At the same time, the driver of the pickup enters the store. After Chapa leaves the store, he walks past the pickup and out of the picture frame. He then re-enters, gets in through the driver’s door, then drives off.
Two days later, on Dec. 13 after 2 a.m., police received a call about a 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV that was stolen from the Palace Bar, 228 First St. The caller said she left the car idling with the doors unlocked.
Later that day, sometime after noon, an officer saw a TrailBlazer like the one reported stolen in a driveway on Boulevard Avenue. Chapa lived about a block from where the TrailBlazer was parked, which the officer found suspicious.
That same day, after seeing a Facebook post asking for information on the Chevy pickup, Chapa voluntarily contacted the Havre Police Department to provide information about that pickup.
Chapa told officers the pickup was on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation near Taylor Road. He said he was cruising on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation when he ran into someone who had gotten it stuck. He denied taking the pickup.
The officer then told him that witnesses saw Chapa taking the pickup from Town Pump.
Chapa then admitted he had lied to the officer. He said he went into Town Pump to buy beer for an 18-year-old woman. That woman pointed out the pickup and said it was hers. She offered to pay Chapa “a couple hundred dollars” to get her vehicle back. He then parked the pickup by the Post Office, then the woman and another person drove off in the vehicle.
The woman forgot to pay Chapa for the truck, so he tracked her down near Parker School, where the pickup became stuck, he told police.
The pickup was eventually recovered from a frozen creek.
Officers also asked Chapa about the TrailBlazer. Chapa admitted he stole it. He said someone ditched him downtown and it was cold outside. His phone was dead and he didn’t have a ride home.
He said he had the keys to the TrailBlazer. Police gave him a ride home, where he retrieved the keys, which police returned to the owner.
Email Paul Dragu at email@example.com