BOZEMAN – A Belgrade man was arrested on Saturday after attempting to rob a Bozeman casino and threatening casino staff with an explosive device.
Jacob Michael Burritt, 27, faces charges of robbery, arson, possession of dangerous drugs and possession of explosives.
He appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday, where his bail was set at $200,000.
According to court documents at around 10 a.m. Saturday, a Bozeman police officer responded to a reported shooting at Gallatin Valley Mall.
A man, later identified as Burritt, entered a Petco store adjacent to the mall and told employees there had been a shooting.
The man then left in a gray vehicle. A check of the vehicle’s license plate number showed that it was registered to Burritt.
Moments after, dispatch informed officers that a man reportedly threw an explosive device into the Magic Diamond Casino, located on West Main Street near the mall.
According to dispatch, the suspect was seen leaving the casino in a gray vehicle.
A second Bozeman police officer investigated the report from the casino and saw an object burning on the counter when he entered the building, which he put out with a fire extinguisher. The object appeared to be a bottle with a wick device in its mouth.
In interviews with police, casino employees said Burritt entered wearing a mask that covered his face below the eyes, carrying an object on fire and yelling, “Give me the money!”
The employees fled the casino, and when they returned, they found the casino’s safe pulled open. It did not appear that Burritt was able to take any money from the safe.
Around 1:56 p.m., deputies with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office found Burritt near his vehicle. Court documents state he was surrounded by several deputies before being talked into surrendering.
Law enforcement also interviewed Burritt’s ex-wife, who said he had told her he wanted to rob a casino in the same way his father had, by creating a diversion before attempting the robbery. She also informed detectives that Burritt was an intravenous methamphetamine user.
Burritt allegedly called his ex-wife during the interview and said “I lost everything” and to tell their daughter he loved her.
A bomb squad with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office determined that the flaming object Burritt brought into the casino was a cologne bottle with a gasoline-soaked wick.
West Main Street in Bozeman was shut down for several hours between College Street and Professional Drive while the bomb squad investigated.
After Burritt’s arrest, officers searching his vehicle found a spoon with a white substance under the driver’s seat. The substance field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
Burritt’s next court appearance is scheduled for 8 a.m. on May 17.