Dog hair helps lead Missoula police to car-theft suspect

2012-11-15T11:00:00Z Dog hair helps lead Missoula police to car-theft suspectBy JENNA CEDERBERG Missoulian The Billings Gazette
November 15, 2012 11:00 am  • 

MISSOULA -- Man’s best friend deserves partial credit for helping police arrest a Missoula man suspected of going on a auto theft spree this fall.

Nathanial A. Roth, 37, was charged with three counts of felony theft in the heist of three vehicles in one month. Bail was set at $50,000 during a hearing on Wednesday in Missoula County Justice Court.

According to court documents, Roth is accused of stealing a Chevy Tahoe in Spokane, Wash., in late August, then two vehicles in Missoula during September. Included in the evidence linking Roth to the stolen vehicles was “dog-related items and dog hair with color, length and type consistent with a dog owned by Roth,” court documents said.

Roth was arrested after a foot pursuit on Oct. 1, after he was seen by Missoula police officers entering a stolen car under surveillance. After the arrest, police located both a Ford Fusion suspected to have been stolen by Roth from the University of Montana campus on Sept. 21 and a Volkswagen Jetta believed to have been taken by Roth from outside a Fifth Street residence on Sept. 24.

Along with the dog paraphernalia, police also found pictures of the Jetta and Fusion on Roth’s cellphone, court documents said.

Officers had previously located the Tahoe stolen in Spokane “in a spot from which another stolen vehicle had been recovered the prior week,” according to court documents.

License plates on the Tahoe returned to a maroon Saturn.

Roth has other charges, including charges for car theft, pending in Municipal Court. He also has been arrested for criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and driving a motor vehicle while privilege to do so is suspended or revoked.

Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech set a preliminary hearing in the case for Nov. 28.

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