A Bozeman man was sentenced Monday to three years of probation for a string of break-ins and thefts at city businesses.

Jackson Fraser Herring, 26, was also ordered to pay $3,833 in restitution and write letters of apology to three businesses. Herring appeared in Gallatin County District Court before Judge Rienne McElyea.

As part of a plea agreement, Herring — charged with theft and two counts of burglary — must also complete drug treatment.

During Monday’s sentencing, Herring told McElyea he was in a “dark place mentally” when he was committing the crimes. He said he’s been eating well and exercising while in jail and that he has a positive outlook on his future, noting he was looking forward to working again and possibly going back to school.

“I have a lot of motivation to build my life back up,” Herring said.

Judge McElyea said the common thread throughout Herring’s crimes was that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She said probation would make Herring take responsibility for his actions and treatment could help him figure out what’s driving his addiction.

“The overall sentences here ... will really test the drive of this defendant and see if he truly is going to put his actions to the words he stated to this court today,” McElyea said.

In June 2018, friends found a $1,600 Music Villa violin in Herring’s apartment while he was at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, police said. Officers arrested Herring after learning Music Villa was missing a violin that matched the one in his apartment.

About a month later, officers responded to a burglar alarm at Sola Café and found Herring walking away from the restaurant with a bag full of alcohol and food from the business, according to charging documents. He was arrested and his bail was later set at $25,000.

In March, while Herring was out on bail, Owenhouse Ace Hardware employees reported someone broke into the business overnight, stole a pair of sunglasses and left a wallet with Herring’s ID inside it, police said. Herring was later caught at two other businesses trying to shoplift while drunk.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.


Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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