HAMILTON — Two people from the Helena area have been arrested after they allegedly stole a plane that was found abandoned south of Hamilton over the weekend.
Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton said Kacey Shane Gessner and Brittany Rae Treib were arrested during an investigation into the theft of the plane, which was found on US Highway 93 at mile marker 37 near Lick Creek south of Hamilton.
Sheriff Holton said a news tip provided information that led to finding and identifying the three occupants of the plane at a Hamilton-area motel Sunday.
The pilot was identified as 32-year-old Gessner, who told Deputies that he was forced to make an emergency landing on Highway 93 due to malfunctioning fuel tanks at approximately 4 a.m. on Sunday.
The plane was discovered to have been stolen from a Helena-area aviation company and Gessner was ultimately arrested for felony theft, as well as four outstanding warrants from Helena City Court.
A woman eventually identified as 30-year old Treib was arrested during the investigation for two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs; tampering with or fabricating physical evidence; obstructing a peace officer; and criminal possession of dangerous drugs.
A third person reportedly on the plane - a man also from Helena - has not been charged with any crimes at this point in the investigation.
The plane was reported stolen to the Helena Police Department by the owners, and arrangements are being made to retrieve the Cessna.
Sheriff Holton asks anyone in the area who may have witnessed any suspicious activity to call his office at 406-363-3033.