By Ron VandenBoom
A Canadian man that disappeared Dec. 29 may have been spotted in Havre and investigators are seeking information that may aid in their investigation.
Kenneth Thompson, an agent with the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, was in Havre Friday following a lead that Philip Pugliese may have been seen at Evans Optical in Havre trying to get a pair of glasses repaired.
Pugliese has been missing since Friday, Dec. 29, after dropping off a truck at Delta Motors in Malta.
Thompson said Pugliese towed a 1995 teal colored Saturn, British Columbia license DSF-784, behind the truck from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada to the Malta dealership. He then departed Malta at approximately 1 p.m. to return to Canada driving the Saturn. He has not been seen since.
It is not known, Thompson said, what route he planned on using to return to Canada.
Thompson said he recently received word from an employee, at Evans Optical, who thinks Pugliese was the man in a picture seen in the Great Falls Tribune and that Pugliese had been in the store sometime around the time of the disappearance.
The employee told the Daily News he couldn't remember precisely when Pugliese might have been in the store, but that he is sure it was about the time he disappeared.
The employee also said he can't remember what it was Pugliese wanted in the store, but he does remember looking around for a part.
He reported that Pugliese was also accompanied by "a transient looking man."
Thompson said he believes the other man may be a hitchhiker Pugliese might have picked up between Malta and Havre.
Evans Optical is located in the basement of the Atrium, it would not be a location Pugliese would find by chance, Thompson said, adding that he believes someone most likely directed Pugliese to the store.
"It's just not the kind of place someone would walk off the street and find," Thompson said.
Thompson hopes that there is a person who directed Pugliese to Evans Optical and that they will come forward to aid in the investigation.
No trace of Pugliese or the teal Saturn has been reported and none of Pugliese's credit cards have been used, Thompson said. Nor has there been any phone calls made to his mother or employer.
Pugliese is 61-years-old, 5-foot 8-inches tall, and weighs about 260 pounds. He has grayish brown hair and was wearing a blue winter coat.
Any information on the possible whereabouts of Pugliese or the 1995 teal Saturn can reported by calling the Havre Police Department at 265-4361, the Hill County Sheriff's Office at 265-2512, the Montana Highway Patrol at 406-444-7000, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at 250-762-3300, or the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation at 406-453-6215.