Update 3:05 PM: We have received word from the local authorities that due to the valuation of the stolen property in question, the first individual's charge has been reduced to a misdemeanor.

Original story follows...

In an attempt to cut back on bike thefts in Missoula, police have been trying a different tactic this week that netted arrests very early Wednesday morning. Missoula Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.

"Officers engaged in a directed effort to try to reduce the offense of bicycle theft that is currently going on in Missoula," Welsh said. "In this particular case, the officers deployed a bicycle at a strategic location and two officers were assigned to watch the bicycle... the end result was that two males were placed under arrest."

Jail records show the two men were booked within just a few hours of each other, the first at around 2:00 a.m. the second 4:15 a.m.

"The first, identified as a man 51-years of age, was arrested after he actually took the bicycle and began to ride away. He was contacted int he 1200 block of West Broadway and taken into custody. The second male, 24-year-old Robert Hatfield, was arrested after he took a little carry pack that was mounted on the seat, from the same bicycle."

Hatfield was caught at the intersection of McCormick Street and West Broadway and charged with a misdemeanor because the value of the stolen goods was under $1,500. The first individual is facing a felony for his attempt to ride off with the bike.

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