The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is Seeking Information on Recent Thefts

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s office is asking for assistance in locating suspects involved in recent thefts from storage units and construction sites in the Gallatin County area. It appears that suspects have been targeting storage units and construction sites where construction trailers have been parked at night or on weekends. Bolt cutters or other tools have been used to remove locks from doors to allow access.

Items which have been reported stolen include; personal belongings, sporting equipment (including guns and ammo), camping gear, two large sets of moose antlers, auto-parts, wheels and assorted tools.  Some of the tools that have been stolen at construction sites include; saws, air compressors, chainsaws as well as assorted hand and power tools. One contractor reports that tools valued at over $3,000 were stolen from one job site alone. The value of items that have been stolen is still being determined but is suspected to run to well over $50,000.

Law enforcement believe the individuals involved in the thefts may have a large enclosed truck or trailer and travel around the area seeking sites that are remote and not regularly patrolled or have additional security measures in place.

Law enforcement suggests that if you have personal property stored in a storage unit you check that unit occasionally to determine the security of your belongings. It may be advisable to purchase padlocks which will not allow thieves to cut them with bolt cutters. It is also suggested that personal belongings and tools be inventoried (with serial numbers included), photographed and marked in some way so that they can be identified if they are stolen and later recovered.

Anyone that lives near a current construction site is asked to be observant and report any suspicious activity that may not be related to work at that particular site to the Gallatin County Dispatch Center so the matter can be investigated.

Anyone with information related to these recent thefts is asked to contact the Gallatin County Sheriff’s office at 582-2100 option #2, or Crimestoppers at 586-1131 for a possible reward.

Rescue in Big Sky


(Big Sky, Mont.) On Saturday, August 16th, 2014 around 1:00 pm, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the Big Sky Division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and the Big Sky Fire Department responded to a backcountry rescue in the Big Sky area. An 82 year old female and a friend went for a hike on a trail near the Lone Mountain Ranch. The 82 year old suffered a minor medical event that left her unable to hike back out of the area. Rescuers responded to the victim’s location on ATVs, provided medical aid, and transported her to a waiting Big Sky Fire Department ambulance. The victim refused transport to the hospital and was taken home by her friend.

The victim was hiking with a friend and they carried a means of communication, in this case a cell phone, to summon help when they ran into trouble. Sheriff Gootkin would like to point out that these two factors helped make this a quick and successful rescue. #####

Hebgen Lake Search

On 08-18-14 at about 1:35 a.m., the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a missing autistic 23 year-old male who had apparently walked away from his family’s cabin in the area of the Rainbow Point Campground at Hebgen Lake.  The subject was last seen around 8:00 p.m. the previous evening when he had told his family he was going to bed.  He was found to be missing at approximately 11:20 p.m.

After a search of their own, the family called emergency services and reported the subject missing. A Gallatin County Deputy, acting as incident coordinator, and the West Yellowstone section of the Gallatin County Search and Rescue initiated a search in the Rainbow Point area.  With the amount of time that had passed it was unknown if the subject had walked into town or was lost in the heavily treed forest.  After an unsuccessful initial search, more equipment and people were requested to intensify the search.

At approximately 07:25 a.m., as resources were gearing up, a West Yellowstone searcher located the subject near the town of West Yellowstone.  The subject was found to be in good condition and was returned to his family.

Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind everyone to make sure to call law enforcement before a situation gets too bad or complicated.  Getting the expedited assistance could be just the difference needed to locate a family member quickly and safely.


(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On August 13, 2014 at approximately 3:37 PM Gallatin County Dispatch was contacted about a possible Search and Rescue event in the Hyalite area. Three local teenage males had been hiking in the Blackmore Mountain area, had gone off trail and were now unsure of how to return to their vehicle. The teens were uninjured, but were approximately 10-12 miles from the trailhead in an area that is difficult to navigate. The boys were worried  that they might encounter technical terrain and did not know how to safely get back to civilization. The boys had been in phone contact with their parents and with members of Sheriff’s  Search and Rescue until a lightning storm rolled in and they had to move to lower, less exposed ground and lost cell service.

As rescuers responded to the area planning to hike into where the teens were located a local helicopter service, Rocky Mountain Rotors, became available to use and was able to fly into the area with members of Search and Rescue on board. The helicopter team was able to quickly locate the stranded teens. All three of the teens were brought out of the backcountry by helicopter to a landing zone near the Hyalite Dam. The boys were a little wet but were in good health and uninjured. The boy’s parents were contacted and advised that the boys were out and safe and were driving themselves home.

Sheriff Gootkin stated that it was lucky the boys were able to make contact by cell phone when they became unsure. They also very wisely called for help and stayed where they were instead of trying to find their own way out and possibly becoming truly lost or injured.  They were correct in being worried about running into technical terrain.  ####

Fort Ellis Fire Department Annual Burger Feed

PATCH4Fort Ellis Fire Department Media Release

The Fort Ellis Fire Department will hold its annual burger feed on Thursday, August 14, 5:00 – 7:00 PM at the Fort Ellis Fire Station, 3725 Bozeman Trail Road.  Burgers and all the fixings will be supplied along with fire engine rides for kids of all ages.  Come tour our new training facility and see our new “jaws of life” extrication tools.

For more information, contact Fred Cady, 580-2582


Sheriff Gootkin Announces Staffing Analysis


Members of the National Sheriff’s Association are here this week conducting a staffing analysis of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.  The request was made by Sheriff Gootkin and the Commission budgeted money for the analysis.  If you are interested in hearing more about the staffing analysis please contact the Sheriff.

Sunday was Bad Day for Ankles in the Gallatin Backcountry


(Gallatin County, Mont.) On Sunday August 10, 2014 Sheriff’s Search and Rescue units were sent to South Cottonwood Canyon South of Bozeman to rescue an injured mountain biker.  The call came in about noon. The Bozeman woman in her 40’s was carrying her bike through a bad portion of trail when she got her foot entangled on something in the trail and fell. This occurred about 4 miles from the trail head in steep, single track terrain. With the assistance of Gateway Fire Dept and AMR ambulance 10 rescuers hiked in for an hour and a half and using a specialized one wheeled stretcher carried her out to the trail head where she was transported by ambulance to Bozeman Deaconess. The crash was reported by her riding partner who had to ride 2 miles down trail to get cell service and dial 911. It took rescuers almost 4 hours to navigate the woman down the trail.

Sheriff Gootkin stated that mountain biker rescues present special challenges for SAR. They can travel greater distances and are typically found in areas of steep, narrow and tree covered terrain where rescuers are limited in how they can reach and then carry them out. It is pretty quick to ride a bike or motorcycle into those places but you can’t carry the gear you need to bring someone that is injured out the same way. If you break an arm or leg it is pretty hard if not impossible to ride yourself out on some of these trails. We owe a lot to the volunteers that spent their Sunday afternoon doing this hot and difficult work. He asks that people reporting emergencies in the back country either meet the Deputies at a trail head or stay where they have cell service. Directions to take the left fork is useful except there is always more than one fork to take.   Having someone to guide rescuers in can save a lot of time.

At about 5:30 P.M. just after finishing the Cottonwood rescue SAR volunteers were dispatched to the Blackmore Mountain trail for an injured hiker. A long time Gallatin County Resident had hiked to Blackmore and he also fell and injured his ankle. Because of the distance involved and knowing it would be dark before Rescuers could evacuate him, causing greater risk to the volunteers, a contract SAR helicopter was used to transport him to the Hyalite parking area.

Sheriff Gootkin remarked that these are our typical kinds of Rescues. The majority of our missions involve local folks responsibly enjoying the vigorous outdoor lifestyle our area has to offer. Occasionally they have a bad day.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Cottonwood Bike Rescue


Lava Lake Fire 100% Contained – Trails Re-open

Media Contact: Marna Daley: 406-570-5526
Immediate Release: August 8, 2014

Custer Gallatin National Forests
10 E Babcock, Bozeman, MT 59715
Web: or

Lava Lake Fire 100% Contained – Trails Re-open

Bozeman, MT – Crews made considerable progress yesterday on the Lava Lake Fire and were able to completely contain the blaze. The two trails that were closed because of firefighting efforts re-open today to public use.

After yesterday’s containment, firefighting crews were able to hike out and the helicopters were released. Firefighters will continue monitoring the fire.

The Lava Lake Trail (Forest Service Trail #77) and the trail from Table Mountain that drops down to Lava Lake (Forest Service Trail #445) are open to public use today.

Fire Name: Lava Lake Fire
Date Detected: August 2, 2014
Cause: Lightning
Location: Spanish Peaks portion of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, about one mile north of Lava Lake, between Bozeman and Big Sky, Montana, west of Highway 191 near Cascade Creek.
Current Size: 7 acres; 100% contained
Resources Assigned: Fire is in monitoring status