Prolific burglars facing state prison time

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  • Montana Helen Kelly sentencing, Feb. 25, 2019. (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

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    Richard Allen Chandler arraignment, Nov. 13, 2018. (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

  • Montana Helen Kelly sentencing, Feb. 25, 2019. (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

  • 1

    Richard Allen Chandler arraignment, Nov. 13, 2018. (Paul Sievers/The Western News)

A couple from Northwest Montana has pleaded guilty to their respective roles in a string of burglaries that occurred more than a year ago across the Flathead Valley.

Montana Helen Kelly, 21, and Richard Allen Chandler, 23, each pleaded guilty to two counts of felony burglary in Flathead County District Court. Chandler entered his plea Sept. 4 while Kelly made her agreement Sept. 11.

Each had five counts of burglary dismissed in exchange for their pleas. Judge Robert Allison scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24.

For Kelly, as part of her plea agreement, she is facing a 20-year sentence, with 10 years suspended, in the Montana State Prison.

Her sentence will be served concurrently with a sentence she received in Lincoln County for a similar offense.

For Chandler, as part of his plea agreement, he is facing a 20-year sentence, with 15 years suspended, in the Montana State Prison. His sentence will be served concurrently with a sentence he received in Lincoln County for a similar offense.

Both also must pay restitution to the victims of their crimes, and both remain in the Flathead County Jail.

The two were charged with burglaries at residences in Kalispell, Bigfork and Marion.

The items stolen totaled tens of thousands of dollars, including a puppy, a dog’s cremation ashes, more than two dozen guns, checks, credit cards, tools, televisions, coin collection, jewelry, an iPod, skis, and a large amount of cash.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the puppy was returned to its owner after someone saw it where Kelly and Chandler resided.

Also, Chandler had dropped his wallet at the scene of one of crimes.

The affidavit also indicated Chandler and Kelly each said they were extremely high on drugs at the time, including methamphetamine, pills and marijuana.

Kelly pleaded guilty in 2017 to theft, possession of dangerous drugs and criminal endangerment. She was sentenced to a total of five years, suspended, on each charge and to be placed in an appropriate treatment facility. She was ordered to repay more than $8,000 in restitution to the victims in the 2017 offenses.

Kelly also faced burglary charges in 2016 in Flathead County.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 758-4441 or sshindledecker@dailyinterlake.com.

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