BOZEMAN, Mont. – A Belgrade man is facing burglary and kidnapping charges after he allegedly forced his ex-girlfriend to write him a check and prevented her from escaping from him during a struggle.
Derek L. Steindorf, 41, was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on Friday and his bond was set at $50,000.
According to charging documents, Bozeman Police officers responded to a report of an assault in progress at approximately 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2019. According to dispatchers, a woman was hiding under her vehicle and did not know if her ex-boyfriend, Steindorf, was still in the house.
When police arrived at the home, the woman opened the garage door and ran toward officers, reportedly in “obvious emotional distress” and appeared to be in shock.
Police searched the home, but were unable to locate Steindorf. Bags and a water bottle were on the ground near the garage door and a laptop and other office items were lying about on the floor of the office and several checks had been thrown on the desk.
The woman told officers she when she had arrived home and entered the house through the garage she reportedly saw Steindorf standing inside. She immediately dropped the bags and attempted to run away from him into the office to get to a phone to call 911. Steindorf reportedly chased her and grabbed onto her arms and forced her to write a check to him for money that she reportedly owed him.
A struggle allegedly ensued and the woman was able to escape and run into the garage and hide under her vehicle. She told officers she was able to “coil up” and avoid letting Steindorf pull her out from under the vehicle. She was able to call 911 and remained hiding under the vehicle until police arrived.
The woman told officers she suspected Steindorf entered her home through the back door, which was left unlocked. Officers noted in court documents that the woman had red marks on her upper arms and biceps, bruising to her knees and dirt on her face, pants and shoes from crawling under the vehicle to reportedly escape Steindorf.
While law enforcement was interviewing the woman, Steindorf reportedly sent a text message to her. She showed officers text messages that she had sent him a few days prior, telling him: “don’t show up at my house, I’m done with the lying and mood swings when you don’t get your way.” Officers pinged Steindorf’s cell phone which showed he was near a local gym.
Steindorf was located and when questioned admitted to being at the woman’s house, and that he had let himself in through the back door. He told officers that the woman had invited him over a day or two ago, to get a check for the money she owed him and gave him permission to enter through the back door and wait for her to get home. Stendorf stated the woman attacked him in the house for no apparent reason and punched him in the face. He reportedly admitted he forcibly took the phone out of the woman’s hands as she was trying to call 911 because he “didn’t want the cops involved.”
Under Montana Code, a person commits the offense of aggravated burglary if the person knowing enters or remains unlawfully in an occupied structure and the person purposely, knowingly or negligently inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily injury upon anyone. Under Montana Code af person commits the offense of aggravated kidnapping when they knowingly or purposely and without lawful authority, restrain another person by holding the other person in a place of isolation by use of physical force or the threat of physical force with the purpose of terrorizing the victim or inflicting bodily injury.
Steindorf could face up to 40 years in prison on the burglary charge if convicted and up to 2 years on the kidnapping charge if convicted. The court ordered Steindorf not to come in contact with the victim in any way or leave the state.