April 22, 2005

Man charged with felony theft
Gazette Staff

A man accused of trying to run away from a downtown Billings art gallery with a bronze statue valued at $3,500 was charged Thursday with felony theft. Brian Douglas Stanley, 43, appeared in Justice Court by video from the county jail where he was ordered held on $30,000 bond. Judge Larry Herman ordered Stanley to appear for arraignment Monday in District Court.

According to court records, Stanley was arrested Wednesday at a downtown tavern a few hours after Gary Temple, owner of the Meadowlark Gallery on North 29th Street, said he chased a man who tried to run off with a bronze statue. Temple told police he was in the gallery with an employee when a man walked in at about 2:45 p.m. After about 10 minutes, Temple said, the man left and Temple saw that he was carrying a bronze statue belonging to the gallery. Temple said he chased the man for several blocks (actually for about sixty feet) for the thief stopped, placed the statue on the ground, and continued to flee. Temple returned to the gallery with the statue and called police.

Stanley was arrested at about 7 p.m. when officers were sent to the Empire Bar to remove an intoxicated customer. When officers arrived, they recognized Stanley from a description provided earlier of the would-be statue thief provided by Temple. Stanley was arrested outside the bar.

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