Home invasion shocks town

Photo by Eleanor Guerrero Jeremy Funke, owner of McCampbell Locksmithing, recommends all homes have dead bolts. He is seen (above) at the Miller residence the day after the burglary to change the locks.


On Thursday evening, Jan. 30, Jerrett Miller and his 12-year-old son, Mason, left basketball practice and arrived at their home on Grant Street in Red Lodge. They saw the front door was open. 
“I immediately said to Mason, ‘you didn’t lock it,’” said Miller. “He said, ‘No, dad, I did.’ We walked in and the place was trashed.” Going room to room they observed drawers opened, clothing and property strewn about and many valuables missing. 
“When my son saw his upset room, he was horribly affected.” Miller continued, “All my tools, my snow gear, (for his snowmobile business), even the whole safe were gone.” Thousands of dollars worth of property including electronic equipment were taken. 
“All my son’s Christmas gifts, his die-cast car collection and even some small savings he had hidden away, were stolen.” 
Most upsetting was the reaction of his son who felt traumatized and invaded. “I had to calm him down and tell him we were alright.” 
Police Chief Richard Pringle said, “It has been over a year since I can recall a home invasion and probably longer than that.” The breaking and entering occurred between 7 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Officer Srock responded.
Pringle said there is a suspect and the investigation is ongoing. 
He offers suggestions to residents in maintaining their safety: “Lock your doors and windows. You can drill a little hole on a downward slant by the glass. When a nail is inserted it will keep it from being opened or sliding. You can’t see it to remove it.” 
Lastly, Pringle says report strangers about. “It’s the neighbors looking out for each other,” he said. 
“We’d much rather check out the false alarm. Lots of times just talking to someone up to something stops it. A "B and E" is an anonymous crime; they don’t want to be known.” He said burglaries generally occur during the day when most people are gone. 
Pringle said if there is a strange car-snap a picture with your cell phone or call the police. “Neighbors need to be aware of each other. That’s how we were aware of the vehicles-something seems out of place or unusual in a neighborhood.” 
“Just locking their doors,” said Pringle. “Times have changed and we have to change with them.” 
Miller reflected, “I told my neighbors, if you ever see anyone around my house-call the police. If I’m not there, no one should be there.” 
A deadbolt was installed the next day. 
“I feel like my personal space was violated. My son loves his video games, his Kindle-that was a Christmas gift from his grandpa.” All are gone. 
“You never think it’s going to happen to you and it can. I’m proof of it, now.”
Miller is offering a reward. He hopes it is an incentive for the small community to protect itself by keeping its eyes and ears open for those who prey on others.