GREAT FALLS (AP) — Eleven motorcycle gang members accused of kidnapping a rival here represent an "almost indescribable danger to the public," a judge declared in setting their bail at $500,000 apiece.
The 11 Bandidos members surrendered to police Tuesday after a three-hour standoff at a motorcycle repair shop. The shop owner, Scott Spencer, escaped unharmed.
An attorney representing one of the 11 disagreed with Harris' calling the group a motorcycle gang rather than a club. The judge dismissed the point.
"To characterize this as a club is to mischaracterize it," Harris replied and cited the Bandidos' 50-year history of organizing specifically to commit crimes.
That history "causes me great concern for the safety of the public," Harris said.
Police said the incident was a turf war between the Bandidos and Spencer, a member of the rival Kinsmen group.
Dale Robert Granmo, 47, of Missoula was charged with kidnapping and assault with a weapon, both felonies. The other 10 are charged with accountability to kidnapping, also a felony.
Both kidnapping charges carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Assault with a weapon carries up to 20 years and a $50,000 fine.
Granmo, in his initial court appearance Wednesday, denied forcing Spencer to leave his shop, Grizzly Welding and Choppers, at gunpoint.
The Bandidos group allegedly forced Spencer to "surrender his colors," the patches used to identify each group.
Detective Jeff Beecroft said such a surrender forces a club to disband.
Spencer told police Granmo and Wise took him from his shop to his home at gunpoint and under threat of death, where he surrendered his colors. Granmo told police Spencer went willingly.
A store employee alerted police.
The standoff developed when Spencer and two others, returning to the shop, saw police roadblocks and fled, police said. Officers said they confiscated a gun that Granmo hid in an alley and six others they found inside the shop.
Also arrested were longtime outfitter Bernard Russell Ortman, 44, and David Harold Theriault, 56, both of Missoula; Robert Randell Alexander, 42, and Stephen Dale Koester, 45, both of Helena; Aaron Kenneth Wise, 32, of Kalispell; Michael Trent McElravey, 54, of Bigfork; Robin Wade Hundahl, 38, of Columbia Falls; Ricky Thomas Lookebill, 45, of Whitefish; William Blaine Beach Jr., 52, of Mount Vernon, Wash.; and Frank Offley, 47, of Bellingham, Wash.
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