Freshmen charged after allegedly breaking into mayor's home

Updated: June 27, 2007, 2:31 AM ET
Associated Press

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Two incoming freshman Montana State University football players allegedly broke into the mayor's house early Monday while attempting to elude police.

The men -- Clay Bignell, 19, of Avon, and Daniel Ogden, 18, of Kalispell -- and two others had been egging houses, police said.

They were running from police at about 3:45 a.m. when they crawled through a basement window into Mayor Jeff Krauss' southside home, Bozeman Police Sgt. Steve Crawford said Tuesday.

The commotion woke up Krauss, who said he went downstairs to find several people running through his house.

"There were only two coherent things I heard: 'Stay down,' and 'Running north," Krauss said. "It was pretty startling."

The mayor said it was dark and he couldn't tell who was speaking. He later learned the person who was talking was Officer Cody Anderson, who was pursuing the students.

Bignell and Ogden were charged with misdemeanors in connection with the incident, Deputy Police Chief Mark Lachapelle said.

Three other freshmen -- Robert Schmechel, 18, and Tyler Haven, 18, both of Kalispell, and Miles Wahrer, 18, of Bozeman -- also face misdemeanor charges.

Allen Yarnell, MSU's vice president of student affairs, could not be reached for comment.

Court records say Bignell appeared in City Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing and obstructing a peace officer, both misdemeanors.

City Judge Karl Seel gave him a $620 fine, sentenced him to 20 hours of community service and gave him credit for 18 hours served in the Gallatin County jail.

Ogden, Schmechel and Haven were cited with obstructing a peace officer, court records said.

Wahrer, who was not running from police, was cited with minor in possession of alcohol and unlawful transaction with children. None of those four has had an initial court appearance.

Crawford said police responded to numerous complaints from south Bozeman residents about egging and noise between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Monday.

At about 3:45 a.m., police chased four men into Krauss' home. Bignell was arrested and taken to jail, but the other men got away, Crawford said.

The others were cited later in the day, after further investigation.

During the chase, the men also broke two fences and damaged an outdoor shed, Crawford said. Five homeowners told police they had suffered property damage.

The mayor applauded officers' response and said he hoped the arrests sent a message to would-be criminals that if you run through a person's house, you'll be prosecuted.

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Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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