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Second man charged with March robbery of Caboose Saloon in Laurel

Second man charged with March robbery of Caboose Saloon in Laurel

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Gazette Staff

A 33-year-old man accused of robbing a Laurel bar was charged Wednesday in District Court.

John David Lecheler pleaded not guilty to felony robbery. Judge Gregory Todd ordered Lecheler held in the county jail on $40,000 bond after prosecutors described the robbery in which two men bound a 63-year-old woman with duct tape and stole about $700.

A second suspect, James Kelly Chavez, 23, was charged last week. His bond is set at $30,000, and both men remained in the county jail Wednesday. A third suspect who investigators believe drove the two men to and from the bar has not been arrested.

According to prosecutors, Lecheler and Chavez forced their way into the Caboose Saloon on the morning of March 5 as the woman was opening the bar to clean. The robbers, both wearing ski masks, restrained the woman with duct tape and forced open the door to the bar office. Three bank bags containing about $700 cash were taken, along with the woman's purse and credit cards.

After the robbers left, the woman was able to call police. A unidentified person described in court documents as a "confidential source" implicated Lecheler and Chavez in the robbery. Chavez was arrested a few days after the robbery. Lecheler was arrested March 15 in Cut Bank.

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