Thief Pleads Guilty; Awaits Sentencing

Sheridan County Courthouse
Sheridan County Courthouse

34-year-old Christopher Lande was arraigned in 4th Judicial District Court Tuesday morning, and plead "Guilty" to two counts of "Wrongful Taking of Property."

Lande was charged with taking a Honda XR350 motorcycle, a bike trailer, and other Honda and Kawasaki bikes between July '09 and August '09 from various people. He was also charged with taking a gold chain with a black pearl, Mikimoto white pearls and matching earrings, diamond jewelry and an expensive, Austrian-crafted shotgun.

Some of the jewelry and gun were stolen from Brad and Jackie Waters between June of '09 and August of '09, for whom Lande once worked. Lande took those items to Billings and sold some of the jewelry. He was arrested after he tried to sell the gun to a sporting goods store in Billings and the salesperson became suspicious.

Both counts are felonies and carry a possible sentence of ten years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. Deputy County Attorney Christopher LaRosa, prosecutor for the State, recommended that per the agreement for Lande's guilty plea, that the sentence be four to eight years on each count, to run concurrently, plus restitution to the victims.

Judge John Fenn ordered a pre-sentence investigation, and sentencing is scheduled for June 30, 2010.

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The headline to this

The headline to this story,"Thief Pleads Guilty; Awaits Sentencing", disappoints me after reading the news story which is located directly above it on the news thread, which is about a man who sexual assaulted a 13-year-old girl and allegedly got her pregnant. The headline of his story was "Sexual Assault Defendant Changes Plea". It immediately struck me as judgmental and biased, yet the headlines of other articles, including a recent case involving a drunk driving rollover which resulted in the death of a young man last year, and they all were objective to the facts of the case. The overall impression that I received was unequal objectiveness. A sexual predator may be referred as a 'defendant', yet someone else may labeled? Regardless of his innocence or guilt, shouldn't they ALL be represented by Sheridan Media and the Sheridan Press in the same way? Shame on you, Mary Jo Johnson! I was under the assumption that you were required to maintain strict professionalism in your line of work, yet you have proved me to be wrong in that matter!!


Dear Involved Parent,

Thank you for your post. I'm sorry you are offended by my choice of words on this story's headline. I do try very hard -- almost overly so, if you ask my co-workers and those who know me well -- to be very professional in this "line of work" as you call it. But I'm human, and therefore imperfect.

Every day brings challenges to report as accurately and objectively as possible -- it's always my goal.


Mary Jo

P.S. I'm very glad you are an involved parent.

I'm not sure I understand

I'm not sure I understand your position. If a person makes a public statement admitting that he is a thief (which is what the plea of "guilty" was), wouldn't it then be acceptable for a news headline about him use that terminology?

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