A 15-year-old Billings boy accused with four other teens of causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage during a holiday vandalism spree appeared Tuesday in Youth Court.
Kade Edward Gies is the first of the five teenagers to be brought to court on charges related to two vehicle arsons and hundreds of shattered vehicle and house windows.
Gies appeared before Judge Russell Fagg for a detention hearing based on a felony charge of criminal mischief by common scheme for the vandalisms. He also appeared on a petition filed by prosecutors to revoke a prior Youth Court sentence in a drug case.
Gies, who told the judge he is a ninth-grader at West High School, was convicted in April of possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Fagg ordered the teen held in youth detention on a $2,000 bond. The judge also said juvenile authorities could determine whether a less-restrictive placement is appropriate for Gies.
Gies is scheduled to make his next Youth Court appearance Feb. 9 before Judge Ingrid Gustafson.
Gies and four other teens were charged Monday in Youth Court with offenses related to the vandalisms that police said stretched across the city beginning Dec. 22 and continued through the first of January. A tip helped police identify the teens as suspects.
Tristen A. Birdchief, 14; James L. Eldridge, 14; Lacroix Dion Plainfeather, 16; and Bryce Waddell, 16, also face charges in Youth Court.
Birdchief and Waddell are scheduled to make their initial appearances before Judge Susan Watters on Feb. 22. Birdchief is facing felony charges of arson by accountability, arson and criminal mischief by common scheme. Waddell has been charged with criminal mischief by common scheme.
Eldridge is charged with felony counts of arson, arson by accountability and criminal mischief by common scheme. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Youth Court before Judge Mary Jane Knisely on Feb. 23.
Plainfeather has been charged with two counts of felony arson by accountability and felony criminal mischief by common scheme. A March 5 hearing has been set for him to make his initial appearance in Youth Court.
At a press conference held Monday to announce the charges, Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said prosecutors intend to keep the cases against the teens in Youth Court. Under state law, the criminal mischief charge cannot be transferred to adult court.
While arson is a transferable charge for teens 16 or older, Twito said the decision was made to prosecute Plainfeather in Youth Court.
Police said they received 210 reports of vandalisms investigators attribute to the teenagers. Most of the damage was to vehicle windows shot by a BB or pellet gun, police said. Some of the damage was caused by baseball bats or rocks, and some house windows were also damaged.
The teens are also accused of setting fire to two vehicles, and the window of one car was shot out while a woman was driving.
Police estimate the total damage so far at about $86,000. A public meeting is set for Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Center, 360 N. 23rd St., for people who believe they may be victims of the vandalism spree to discuss the case with police and prosecutors.