The Belgrade man who is accused of armed robbery of a Bozeman business reportedly had a homemade bomb in his vehicle when he was arrested.
Jeffrey W. King, 58, is suspected of armed robbery at the Healthcare Massage at 1707 West Oak St on Thursday, June 14. King was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday and is being held on $1 million bail.
According to charging documents, on June 15 at approximately 4:25 p.m. King was taken into custody near the intersection of N. Rouse and Bond St. He was reportedly wearing the exact matching black athletic shoes with a white sole that surveillance video captured during the robbery. Officer could also see a camouflage bandana, boonie hat and black plastic case in the vehicle matching what witnesses noticed during the robbery that the suspect carried and wore.
While executing a search warrant of King’s vehicle, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was located inside the center console. Due to the immediate danger, the search was paused and the Billings Police Department Bomb Squad was contacted. It was determined that the device was a live IED and it was secured by the bomb squad.
Court documents also revealed more information about the armed robbery.
According to a witness, a man brandishing a pistol provided the receptionist at Health Care Massage a typed note written in Mandarin Chinese that read: “this is a robbery. I don’t want to shoot anyone. First give me money. Second, give me your cell phones. Third, take off your clothes and move into the back room. St again the wall (sic). Be quiet and do not make a sound.”
The suspect then took three employees cell phones, approximately $200 in cash and left the business on foot through the rear exit of the business.
Officers searched for the man but were unable to locate him. The three employees’ cell phones were found in the grass adjacent to Tschache Lane, north of the business.
When interviewed, employees described the suspect as a recent customer, from approximately 15 days prior, who paid in cash. They described the man as being 5’6 with white hair, 60 years in age, who leans to the right and appeared to have balance issues. One employee said the man had a medical device under his skin on the left side of his chest.
Video surveillance footage showed the suspect wearing a boonie hat, camouflage bandana and black athletic shoes with a white sole, carrying a large black, hard plastic tool case.
In the video, the man reportedly is seen pulling a semi-automatic pistol from his rear waistband and brandishes it at the employees.
While following leads in the case, an owner of a pawnshop identified King from surveillance video stills taken from June 2. The man confirmed King lived in Belgrade, suffered from possibly Parkinson disease and walks with a limp.
An employee with TSA also identified King from the video surveillance stills.
After King was arrested, a boonie hat, camouflage bandana, black hard case, semi-automatic pistol and an AR-style rifle were recovered during the arrest. The firearms appear to have been altered or modified by removing the serial numbers.
When interviewed, King admitted that he had patronized Health Care Massage on June 2, and had returned to the business on June 14 to see if the business was open, but then drove to Billings. King reportedly denied entering the business, branding a pistol and robbing the business.
King’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 13, 2018.
Additional reporting by Mallory Peebles, David Dyas, and Ken Spencer.