GREAT FALLS – A former Cascade County Sheriff’s captain made his initial appearance in Justice Court Monday morning on a theft charge.
Raymond Hitchcock pleaded not guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft of property by embezzlement.
The charge can carry a fine up to $500. There is no jail time.
Hitchcock is accused of taking a Glock 43, which was purchased by Cascade County, without authorization after his retirement in June of 2017. Court documents state he did not reimburse the county for the firearm.
After an interview with a Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) agent, Hitchcock returned the gun.
He has requested a jury trial. The date for that trial has not yet been set.
Hitchcock is not the only former Cascade County Sheriff’s Office employee to face theft charges. John Stevens, the former undersheriff, has been charged with one count of felony theft after he took several firearms from the CCSO when he retired.
(March 28, 2019) Retired Cascade County Sheriff’s captain Raymond Hitchcock has been cited for misdemeanor theft of property by embezzlement in connection with the investigation into the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.
In December, the Cascade County Attorney’s Office announced the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) of the Montana Department of Justice was investigating “financial irregularities” in regards to some purchases made by CCSO employees.
According to Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter, a DCI agent discovered a firearm that was under Hitchcock’s control or was issued to him during his employment was missing.
During his 27-year tenure with the Sheriff’s Office, Hitchcock was issued several firearms including a Glock 43, which was purchased by the county.
When Hitchcock retired from the office in June of 2017, he took the Glock 43 with him, according to Sheriff Slaughter.
He was not authorized to take the gun nor was there any documentation to show he took it. Hitchcock never reimbursed the county for the firearm he took and exercised unauthorized control over.
A CCSO release states Hitchcock told the agent he knew the Glock 43 was purchased with the county’s money.
After his interview with the agent, Hitchcock returned the firearm. The value of the Glock 43 was less than $1,500, according to Sheriff Slaughter.
The Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office is serving Hitchcock with the summons to appear in court.
John Stevens, the former undersheriff, was charged in connection with the investigation into the Sheriff’s Office. He faces one felony count of theft for taking three firearms purchased by the county after he retired from the CCSO.
Stevens was placed on administrative leave from his position with Disaster Emergency Services in December. Scott Van Dyken is the acting DES coordinator at this time.
Sheriff Slaughter is holding a press conference at 3:45 p.m. Thursday concerning the investigation.
Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News