Scales of Justice

The mother of a man charged last year in a string of Honda car thefts was charged Wednesday with stealing a car herself, and with forging checks.

Mary Regina Morlang, 52, made her initial appearance on Wednesday in Yellowstone County Justice Court. Morlang faces felony charges of theft, drug possession and forgery. Justice of the Peace Jeanne Walker set bond at $1,500.

Morlang stole a vehicle while the owner was warming it up to leave work around 1:50 a.m. Tuesday, according to charges. This took place on the 1400 block of 13th Street West.

When surveillance footage and a tip the car’s owner received on Facebook led police to Morlang, she said she had been driving the car and it was owned by someone named Shane. The owner arrived and identified Morlang as the woman captured on video by her employer’s cameras taking the car.

While being booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on Tuesday, officers found a syringe with a substance inside that field-tested positive for meth.

Morlang was identified in separate court documents as the mother of Michael Marino, Jr., who was charged in a string of Honda thefts in Billings during April and May 2017. Some of the stolen cars were kept in the garage at Morlang’s house, prosecutors say.

In the forgery charge, prosecutors say that around March 2017, Morlang attempted to create a template on her computer for checks that looked like those from the business of her estranged common-law husband.

Charges state she forged five checks in four names, totaling $1,590.45. One of the forged checks was written to was Michael Marino, Jr. 

A witness in the forgery case told police that Marino, Jr. was also involved in the attempt to forge checks, but he denied involvement in an interview at the jail with detectives. 

Morlang told police she had nothing to do with the forged checks and that they were written by Marino, Jr. He and his friends used the money from the checks to buy meth, she said, and he had an arrangement with his father to repay the money by working for him.

The father told police he had no such arrangement with Marino, Jr.

Morlang is scheduled to appear in Yellowstone County District Court on Jan. 17.

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Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.