One of the suspects in a massive theft during a Columbus football game in September 2019 has pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced April 16.

The suspect, Dalton Hilliard, pleaded guilty on Feb. 6 and faces a sentencing in Stillwater County District Court, according to court clerk Sandy Fox.

A sentencing set for last Thursday was postponed because a large crowd was expected to attend, including members of the Columbus football team who had items stolen from their locker room. 

Health officials have discouraged gatherings of more than 10 people in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and courts across Montana have rolled out preventative measures.

Hilliard and another suspect, Grant Russell, pleaded not guilty on all counts in October, and Russell's plea has not changed. Russell's trial was set for Monday but was postponed after he filed a motion for a change of venue last month, Fox said. A new trial date has not been set.

Hilliard, 21, and Russell, 23, were charged with stealing vehicles, cellphones, wallets and other personal belongings from the Columbus football team's locker room during its game against Three Forks on Sept. 20.

Hilliard, of Billings, was charged with felony conspiracy, felony theft by common scheme and felony burglary by accountability. Russell, of Bozeman, was charged with felony conspiracy, felony conspiracy to commit theft by common scheme and felony conspiracy to commit burglary.

The suspects crashed one of the stolen cars, an Audi, on Sept. 21. The other vehicle, a BMW, was found last month.

Email Victor Flores at victor.flores@406mtsports.com and follow him on Twitter at @VictorFlores_BG

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