Lake County Sees Rise In Crime - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Lake County Sees Rise In Crime

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RONAN -

Lake County Sheriff's say a spike in crimes in the county is related to a rise in drug use.

The owner of Westland Seed is getting his store back into shape after more than $6,000 worth of firearms were stolen from his store early last week.

"The place was just a disaster," owner David Sagmiller.

He said last Tuesday, he got a call from his store's alarm company, saying someone broke into his store. By the time he got there, the place was in shambles.

"The front door was smashed in all to heck, and of course inside was the car, which was the airport courtesy car they had driven right through our front door," Sagmiller said.

"I think future-wise that this is going to be the new norm for us until we get a handle on the drug problem," Sagmiller said.

The suspects, Thomas Dempsey and Matthew Darnell, are now behind bars in Washington state. Still, Undersheriff Dan Yonkin said this isn't going to stop the wave of crime the county is seeing.

"Over the course of my career, I've seen crime waves go up and go back down," Yonkin said.

He said the latest rise in crime in the county is a result of a rise in drug use.

"People fall victim to their own addictions, and they have tendency to be less and less capable of feeding those additictions through their employment, so they turn to crime," Yonkin said.

Yonkin said in August, they hired an officer to be in charge of drug crimes in an effort to get a handle on the issue.

Meantime, Sagmiller said this isn't stopping him from putting up more cameras and security gates at his store.

"If they don't get a handle on this, it seems it's going to be a lot worse for us in the future, and for anyone in the business," Yonkin said.

The burglary's are still under investigation. Yonkin said, right now, as far as they know, all suspects involved are in custody. He said in the meantime, people should take precautions and report any criminal behavior they see.

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