A statewide grand jury indicted five suspects in connection to an alleged auto theft and burglary ring that operated in the metro area and into Clear Creek County.
The five defendants are accused of working in concert “to steal motor vehicles and burglarize storage units to steal their contents, including personal identifying and financial information, among other offenses,” according to a Wednesday news release from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
According to the 90-count indictment, the defendants used stolen identities to test drive vehicles from car dealerships, and then never returned the vehicles. Stolen identities were allegedly used to open accounts at storage facilities, and the group then burglarized other units in the facilities.
Stolen property was sometimes pawned and investigators recovered stolen property, stolen or fake identities, and stolen firearms from recovered stolen vehicles, as well as storage units, as part of the investigation.
The 62-page indictment was handed down on Dec. 15 in Jefferson County District Court.
The crimes happened between December 2019 and March 2021, according to the release. The value of 23 stolen vehicles — 22 from car dealers and one privately owned — is about $836,000, while the value of the stolen property from storage units and stolen checks is about $109,000.
“Motor vehicle theft is a serious issue hurting a lot of people and businesses in Colorado. Stolen vehicles are often used to commit other crimes, such as personal property theft,” Attorney General Phil Weiser said in the release. “It is critical that law enforcement work collaboratively to address the high number of auto thefts in our state and use all the tools available to do so.”
The indictment includes various felony criminal charges including violating Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act, first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, second-degree burglary, identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, and felony theft; as well as felony drug possession and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
The Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office investigated the case with financial support from the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority.
All of the defendants are in custody and the ongoing case is filed with the Jefferson County District Court.
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