Convicted Git’s burglar denies probation violation

Ellerbee is a 9-time felon who has hit Stillwater County twice
Thursday, February 13, 2020
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A 9-time convicted felon who has twice committed crimes in Stillwater County has denied violating his probation from a 2011 Columbus burglary case.​

Casey Ellerbee, 41, appeared before 22nd Judicial District Judge Matt Wald last Thursday and denied the violations.​

The revocation is based on a pending felony forgery charge in another county, as well as Ellerbee allegedly admitting to having used drugs to his probation officer, Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde said in open court.​

Ellerbee had already posted bond in the case and was allowed to remain free, but under specific court conditions, pending the resolution of the case.​

In addition to the three felony Stillwater County convictions from the Gits case, Ellerbee’s criminal history includes convictions for two separate counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, forgery and theft in three different counties, according to the Montana Department of Corrections.​

THE CASE​

On July 31, 2011, Ellerbee and Joshua Pierce Menning broke into Git’s Conoco in Columbus, removed the ATM and a safe and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money. An employee discovered the burglary at 5:09 a.m., and immediately called 911, according to court documents.​

Less than three hours later, both the safe and ATM were found on Upper Flat Road by a citizen, minus the cash. An anonymous tip pointed police to Menning and Ellerbee. The case was investigated by the Columbus Police Department.​

The men were ordered to pay $9,375 in restitution in the case. Ellerbee said he was going to spend most of the stolen money on drugs, according to a court affidavit.​

When Ellerbee was sentenced for the crimes, he told then Judge Blair Jones that he had been sober only eight years of his entire adult life and that he was ready to get his life straight. At that point, Ellerbee’s history also included three trips through chemical dependency treatment, according to courtroom testimony.​

Ellerbee was sentenced to 15 years at the Montana State Prison with all but five years suspended. The sentence was slightly harsher than what prosecutors and the defense had recommended.​