Houston charged with stealing and crashing front-end loader through fence

Posted at 12:26 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 14:26:45-04

Heather Houston was arrested on Sunday after allegedly stealing a front-end loader and driving it into an apartment complex in Great Falls.

The Great Falls Police Department responded to the Fox Hollow apartment complex on Sunday morning where they found 34-year-old Houston, who had reportedly stolen the loader from the 3100 block of Rainbow Dam Road and drove it across town to the apartments.

Fox Hollow is located at 1700 10th Street Southwest, behind the Best Western Heritage Inn.

The GFPD says that Houston then crashed through a fence with the loader, damaged a car, and hit the side of the complex.

She was reportedly topless as she elevated the front end to the second floor and crawled into an apartment before coming back out.

When police arrived, they arrested Houston on charges of felony criminal mischief and felony criminal endangerment. Additional charges could be filed.

Andy Ashcraft, who lives in the apartment building (and is also a KRTV employee) said it was quite the morning.

“She actually ran into the side of my window, it shook the whole house. That’s when we went running outside thinking, ‘We better get out of here in case the building comes down,’” Ashcraft said.

There were no reports of injuries.

We will update you as we get more information.

(UPDATE, 12:16 p.m.) Houston has been charged with felony theft; two counts of felony criminal mischief; felony criminal endangerment; misdemeanor criminal mischief; and misdemeanor criminal trespass to property.

Court documents obtained on Monday state that Houston told police that the owner of the vehicle had let her borrow it. Police contacted the owner, who said that he did not know Houston and had not given her permission to drive it. He surmised that Houston had broken into his business to steal the tractor. He estimated that damage to the tractor cause by Houston was about $1,300.

The owner of the loader also said that there was more than $1,500 in damage to the front gate of his property where the loader was stolen from. In addition, a pickup truck that was parked next to the loader sustained an estimated $6,000 in damage due to being hit by the loader when Houston drove it away.

Police then talked with the pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church, who said that Houston had driven the loader across the lawn of the church; he estimated the damage to the lawn at about $800.

There is no word yet on the dollar amount of damage caused at the apartment complex.