- Associated Press - Friday, September 26, 2014

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - A Butte Pre-release Center inmate who had been working for a parking lot maintenance company faces charges that he drove a pickup fitted with a street sweeper to Billings, where he was eventually arrested.

Matt Hawkins was arrested Wednesday after a police dog found him hiding under blankets in an abandoned building near where the missing pickup was found stuck in an irrigation ditch. Officers say they also discovered drugs and $1,100 in cash in the area where Hawkins was hiding.

Hawkins, 51, made an initial court appearance Thursday on three drug charges and a trespassing charge. His bail was set at $40,500 and he did not enter a plea.

Police in Butte allege Hawkins took the street sweeper from All-in-One Contracting on Sept. 19. Officers were tipped he was in Billings after a company gas card was used there.

Court records say Hawkins handed over the keys to the street sweeper and told arresting officers he had planned to take it to Mexico.

Hawkins has felony convictions for theft, burglary and drug possession dating back to the mid-1980s, according to Department of Corrections records.

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