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Caretaker charged for allegedly planning to steal from woman

| May 4, 2022 1:40 PM

By DERRICK PERKINS

For the Hungry Horse News

A Columbia Falls caretaker who allegedly planned to steal from his elderly dementia patient was foiled by a surveillance camera, prosecutors say.

Douglas Wayne Lukenbill, 69, faces a felony burglary charge in Flathead County District Court after the failed April 23 break-in. His arraignment is set for May 19.

Deputies with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office initially responded to a Dorothy Street home after an individual reported spotting suspicious activity on a surveillance camera feed at the house. According to court documents, the caller saw a person stand outside of the home about 11 p.m. He approached the camera and removed it.

Investigators later concluded that someone had forced the door open, noting fresh damage to the area. The resident, who suffers from dementia, told authorities she noticed nothing out of the ordinary.

But within about three hours several other witnesses stepped forward to identify the man on the surveillance footage as Lukenbill, court documents said. Authorities determined that Lukenbill worked as a caretaker for the resident.

Confronted, Lukenbill denied the allegations, but allegedly changed his tune after investigators brought up the surveillance footage.

If convicted, Lukenbill faces up to 20 years in Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine.