John GardnerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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November 24, 2009
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Three charged in string of Rifle burglaries

RIFLE, Colorado - Rifle Police arrested three men for allegedly having some connection with a string of burglaries at local churches and businesses since August.Police reported Monday that Robert Ross Jr., 20, of Rifle, Richard William Marques, 19, of Palisade, and Gemini G. Billington, 19, of Rifle, were arrested for allegedly stealing close to $10,000 in cash and various items, and causing more than $6,000 in damage to about a dozen local businesses over the past few months.Both Ross and Marques face charges of second degree burglary, criminal mischief and felony theft, all felonies. Billington faces charges of theft by receiving over $1,000, a felony, and prohibited acts - lying to a pawn broker.According to an arrest affidavit, police arrested Billington after receiving a tip that Billington and Marques had allegedly stolen a television from the Church of the Open Door in Rifle.Police confiscated a 19-inch Emerson television with a built in DVD player, which was later confirmed by church officials to be the one stolen from the church in August. The church also reported a digital projector stolen.When police searched the local pawn shops for any projectors that had been sold recently, they found that Billington had recently sold one to A & D Pawn in Rifle for $40, by a "pawn slip." Pawn shops in Rifle regularly turn all of their pawn slips, which include name, address and driver's license information of the person selling the item, into the police to check if the items are stolen. According to police, the slips are generally "reliable."However, that projector turned out not to be the one reported stolen by the Church of the Open Door, but was reported stolen from the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Rifle.A search warrant was issued for Billington, and police arrested him on Saturday. He is currently being held on $75,000 bond.According to the arrest affidavit, police say that Billington confessed to burglarizing three Rifle businesses including the American Family Insurance office and the Rifle Creek Movie Theater. However, he was not involved in the church burglaries but just received the items from Ross and Marques, according to police.The affidavit also stated that Billington told police that Ross and Marques told him about several burglaries they had performed in Rifle over the past several months.Ross and Marques are both being held at the Garfield County Jail on $250,000 bonds.No further information was available from police Monday. The exact number of businesses and churches suspected to be included in these crimes is

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 24, 2009 01:44AM Published Nov 24, 2009 01:43AM Copyright 2009 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.