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Man charged for allegedly ripping out 10 commandments monument in Kalispell

by HILARY MATHESONScott Schindledecker
Daily Inter Lake | July 1, 2020 6:26 AM

A Columbia Falls man was arrested after he reportedly toppled a Ten Commandments monument located on the southwest side of the historic Flathead County Courthouse in Kalispell.

According to the Kalispell Police Department, 30-year-old Anthony Craig Weimer reportedly wrapped a chain around the granite monument, attached it to his dually pickup truck and was seen dragging it across the lawn into the street.

The man then reportedly removed the chain and drove away according to Kalispell Police Department Patrol Sergeant Chad Fetveit.

Kalispell Police Department, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, and Montana Highway Patrol responded to the scene at 800 S. Main St. around 3:45 p.m. Saturday after receiving calls and walk-in reports of the incident. Police quickly located Weimer, who is being held at Flathead County Detention Center on felony criminal mischief charges.

The granite monument is currently in storage.

Other smaller granite monuments that flank the Ten Commandments monument were not damaged according to Fetveit. Those monuments commemorate the Montana Constitution, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta and Mayflower Compact.

According to a 2003 report by the Associated Press, Weimer was one of three Kalispell boys charged in youth court on allegations of arson, vandalism and a string of thefts.

On Tuesday, Weimer appeared in front of Flathead County Justice Court Judge Eric Hummel, who set his bail at $10,000. Weimer is charged with felony criminal mischief. His maximum sentence is 10 years in prison with a $50,000 fine.

Weimer’s arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, July 9, in front of District Judge Amy Eddy. He requested a public defender be appointed to represent him. Greg Rapkoch appeared on behalf of Weimer and objected to Hummel setting bail.

“Cases involving criminal mischief typically result in a defendant being released on his own recognizance,” Rapkoch said. “He has a good solid family, too.”

But Hummel kept the bail amount where he set it, citing the public safety aspect of the case, among other things. After Rapkoch’s objections, Hummel said Weimer could request a bail reduction hearing at a later date.

Hummel asked Weimer if he had been arrested before and the accused said “Not that I’m aware of.”

Hummel replied, “The court knows you’ve been arrested before.”

Near the end of the hearing, Weimer asked Hummel one question.

“Is there a victim?” he said.

Weimer gave a Post Office box in Columbia Falls as his mailing address while saying he lived with his mother in Kalispell. When asked where he worked, Weimer said he was self-employed. He also said he had lived in the Flathead Valley for more than 25 years.

According to an Associated Press report, Weimer was one of three boys accused in 2003 of setting fires, vandalism and thefts. He was charged in Youth Court. Police said then the boys set one fire that caused $50,000 damage to a home under construction. Others burned open land, while one was set at a home in which the occupant was sleeping.

The trio was also accused of stealing several items, primarily cellphones, in a spree from August to September. Court documents list 13 victims.

The granite monument is currently in storage.

Other smaller granite monuments that flank the Ten Commandments monument were not damaged, according to Fetveit. Those monuments commemorate the Montana Constitution, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta and Mayflower Compact.