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Gravelle pleads guilty to theft, burglary, drugs

by Jeff Smith/For the Leader
| December 28, 2023 12:00 AM

Judge Molly Owen set a sentencing date of Feb. 14 for a Big Arm man accused of stealing a car, breaking into an RV and drug possession.

Kenneth Ambrose Gravelle, 40, entered a plea of guilty in Polson District Court Dec. 20 to felony charges of theft, burglary and criminal possession of dangerous drugs. The guilty plea came as part of an agreement that could dismiss another drug possession charge.

According to court records, on Aug. 25, a man contacted law enforcement to report his neighbor’s RV had been broken into at the Big Arm Resort. The reporting party indicated that a man was on a “Harley” with saddlebags parked in the driveway where the RV was parked. He said he saw a man was on the steps to the RV and its door was slightly ajar.

When asked what he was doing, the man replied that he was from Canada and was looking for a friend. The reporting party’s wife told law enforcement that she saw several bottles of alcohol in the saddle bags on the Harley. She tried to grab one of the bottles and accused him of taking the bottle from the RV. She said the man grabbed the bottle back from her and claimed it was his.

The reporting party took photos of the man and his Harley. Law enforcement documented damage to the RV’s door and managers at the resort were able to review the incident on surveillance cameras. The man in the surveillance images is the same man seen in the photos taken by the reporting party as distinguished by a “distinctive tattoo” on his hand.

A Harley Davidson matching the description of the burglary suspect’s motorcycle was located several days later at an auto repair shop in Polson. Gravelle was located sleeping inside a vehicle nearby with the same identifying tattoo on his hand. The damage to the RV’s door was estimated at $2,500-$3,000.

Gravelle was already facing a charge involving the theft of a 2010 Audi Q5 and drug possession charges. According to court records, on March 21, law enforcement came the Audi parked in the Arlee area, off of Saddle Mountain Road. After checking the license plate, officers determined the license plate belonged to a motorhome.

The registered owner of the Audi was later identified as a resident of Missoula. She indicated that the Audi had been left at a repair shop in Missoula and gave authorization for the car to be towed back to town. As it was being towed, the driver of the tow truck discovered that a person was in the Audi.

Law enforcement was contacted and officers found an unresponsive male, later identified as Gravelle, asleep in the back seat. The keys to the Audi were located there as well. Law enforcement had to break a window to gain access to Gravelle, who was unable to tell officers who the Audi belonged to or where he was.

When officers booked Gravelle into the Lake County Jail, he was in possession of methamphetamine. He remains in the county jail until his sentencing hearing in February. His bond is $50,000.