Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Crime Of Opportunity, Auto Theft Warning

Unlocked, Running Vehicle Is Great Crime Of Opportunity

Mesa County, Colo. -- Just before Christmas, the Grand Junction Police Department had two auto thefts as a result of people leaving their vehicles running while they stepped away for just a minute or two. Fast forward to January 2014, and the Fruita Police Department stopped a vehicle in their city limits and arrested the two occupants on warrants. However, the car was stolen out of the Sheriff's Office jurisdiction and had been painted over with spray paint, likely in an attempt to modify the stolen vehicle from being recognizable. 
Brian Richardson, 29, of Grand Jct.
Brian Richardson and Christopher Foster were booked into the Mesa County Detention Facility on their outstanding warrants on January 13, 2014, by Fruita officers. The stolen vehicle they were driving had been reported to deputies on January 8, just before 8 a.m., by the owner who said the vehicle was left unlocked (but no keys inside the car) outside his residence in the 3200 block of Hall Court, Clifton. When the rightful owner was able to get his car back on January 13, he estimated the missing items and new damage to exceed $3,500.00.
Christopher Foster, 29, of Whitewater
Again just before 8 a.m., on January 20, deputies responded to a different residence in the 3200 block of Hall Court, Clifton, for a 2003 Jeep that had been left running to warm-up for an estimated two minutes while the owner returned inside his home. After taking the auto theft report, deputies searched the area for the Jeep and located it in the City Market parking lot, in Clifton. Kevin Rohracker, 30, of Grand Junction was arrested after being contacted in the Jeep. Kevin's personal items were also located inside the stolen Jeep. 

Kevin Rohracker, 30, of Grand Jct. 
Kevin was booked into the Mesa County Detention Facility on driving infractions and second degree auto theft, a class 6 felony.

Next week is Puffer Awareness Week, intended to raise public awareness of “puffers”—a term coined by car thieves to describe a vehicle left running unattended. Law enforcement in Mesa County prefer to educate citizens on the risks of leaving your car running and unattended (rather than issue tickets for the infraction). A running or unlocked vehicle, left unattended is a crime of opportunity for a criminal. Don't be a victim. Lock your vehicle.

For other law enforcement updates, follow us on Twitter @SheriffMesaColo using #GVCopBeat and #MesaCounty.