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Kalispell judge will oversee criminal case against former Cascade County undersheriff

A new judge has been assigned to oversee the criminal case against the former Cascade County undersheriff.

John Stevens has been charged with one count of felony theft after he took several firearms from the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office when he retired.

Earlier this month, a prosecutor within the Montana Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to substitute Judge Elizabeth Best from the Stevens case.

The other three judges within the Eighth Judicial District declined to accept the case. Judge Amy Eddy of Kalispell has since accepted.

County officials have also confirmed Stevens is no longer an employee of Cascade County.

After over 20 years with the Sheriff’s Office, Stevens became the Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator for Cascade County.

He was placed on administrative leave in December during the investigation into the criminal matter.

Scott Van Dyken has since been the acting DES Coordinator.

The DES Coordinator/Emergency Manager position currently has a job listing, but the closing date is set for this Friday.

(March 21, 2019) John Glen Stevens, the former undersheriff of Cascade County, is facing charges in connection with an investigation into the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).

He was arrested Thursday afternoon and released on his recognizance. He faces a felony theft charge.

In December, the Cascade County Attorney’s Office announced the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) of the Montana Department of Justice was investigating “financial irregularities” in regards to some purchases made by CCSO employees.

Court documents state an agent was assigned to investigate allegations of theft occurring within the CCSO in August of 2018. The agent found three firearms that had been issued to or were under Stevens’ control during his employment were missing.

(Courtesy: Cascade County Sheriff’s Office)

During his tenure, Stevens was issued several firearms including a Glock 27 40 S&W, a Rock River Arms LAR 15 rifle, and a Glock 43 that were purchased with Cascade County monies.

When Stevens retired from the CCSO, he took the Glock 27 40 S&W, the Rock River Arms LAR 15 rifle, and the Glock 43. Court documents state he was not authorized to take the guns and that no documentation was created to show he took them.

Stevens never reimbursed the county for the property he took and exercised unauthorized control over, according to court documents, but he told investigators he knew the guns and accessories were purchased with county monies.

Stevens claimed former Sheriff Bob Edwards knew he had left the department with the guns. When interviewed, Edwards reported Stevens had expressed interest in keeping the firearms and that Edwards had indicated in order for him to keep them, he would have to go through the proper channels.

Edwards reported Stevens disagreed, according to court documents, and the conversation then ended. Edwards told investigators he was not aware, nor had he authorized, Stevens to take the three guns.

Court documents state the same day investigators interviewed Stevens, he turned in evidence to several items purchased with Cascade County monies including but not limited to: the Glock 43, two holsters, and 9mm ammunition.

When asked about the other two guns, Stevens reported that in August of 2018, he “responded to a post on Craigslist and ultimately traded the Glock 27 and the Rock River LAR 15 for a 2000 Artic Cat four-wheeler.” He obtained the four-wheeler for personal use, according to court documents.

An agent located and recovered the Glock 27 and Rock River LAR in December 2018.

The total value of the guns and accessories Stevens allegedly took is greater than $1,500 and less than $5,000.

Margaret DeMarco

Margaret DeMarco

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