I've heard of many dumb criminals in my time. 30 years is a long time to see things happen... but today marked a new level of dumb for me and many of my coworkers at Townsquare Media Billings.

Where is the Mix 97.1 Station Car?

This morning, before getting into the office, a buddy of mine sent a Snapchat to me of our Mix 97.1 Station Car in Ballantine at a church parking lot (that buddy owns Steady Grinding Bikini Baristas in the heights... thanks KC). Honestly, I was somewhat surprised, but not shocked to see it off somewhere (assuming one of our fantastic account executives had it). Though, he mentioned it was honking at him and was just acting... strange.

I asked our staff in our group chat if anyone had it, and a coworker jokingly said he had it (at the time, I just thought.. makes sense... and carried on joking with the crew about it). We even shared jokes on making it self-driving, like K.I.T.T from Knight Rider. And we went about our morning.

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10:40AM - The Church Lady

As we were standing around in the lobby chatting about things today, our Mix 97.1 Content Writer Trent Flager answered the phone... and on the other end was a very VERY nice lady calling to let us know our Mix 97.1 Kia was at said church in Ballantine, with some dude walking around it... kicking the tires... and acting strange. She called the police, as it was THAT strange to see in Ballantine (not that seeing a white and bright pink Kia was weird enough).

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Immediately, the boss and I rushed out the door to Ballantine. After a 20 minute drive, sure enough, there is the Mix 97.1 Kia. Looking just fine, excluding the two Sheriff's patrol cars.

Now, I have to say at this point, this case is ongoing with YCSO... so I am being throttled on what I can share at this point. What I CAN tell you is he was arrested, and we recovered the (now reeking of cigarette smoke inside, and missing Starburst) Kia.

Credit: Josh Rath. TSM
Credit: Josh Rath. TSM
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So... what happened after the arrest?

Again, I've been throttled by the YCSO for now, until things can proceed. However, we spent the next 5 HOURS trying to figure out how this dude ended up with our Kia.

Did we leave the keys in the car accidentally?

Did he break into Townsquare Media?

Was he a wizard, Harry?

Well, he isn't a wizard.

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He is Montana's Dumbest Criminal. Why? Well... we're a media company. Think we don't have a cameras? Security?

After painstakingly learning the security system (I'm new here still, remember?) we got the footage... which I can't show you.

I can show you a few stills from it, for now... and we'll have an update next week on this article with the full footage.

Credit: Josh Rath, TSM
Credit: Josh Rath, TSM
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The issue right now is... YCSO had to release him. It took us so long to get this footage, from this 3 year old security system (more on that in Part Two)... they released him. No fault on YCSO. They went ABOVE AND BEYOND for us, and I appreciate them whole heartedly.

Credit: Josh Rath, TSM
Credit: Josh Rath, TSM
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See that pink thing? That was a shirt from Pack the Mall in Pink this past weekend. What you don't see, is his right hand... with our Kia key in it.

So, at the time I leave you with this. For now, a criminal is on the loose. You may remember my skewering of the local PD a few weeks back when they released a dude who robbed someone downtown, because the jail was too full. Again, total respect to YCSO... it's just a shame this dude could be breaking into YOUR business right now, taking things.

Stay tuned for Part Two, once YCSO reaches back out to me on what I can... and cannot... say next week. One way or another, you WON'T wanna miss that article. Or the video. Or the audio.

Have a safe weekend.

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