Arrest made, more expected in $23K check fraud
A 71-year-old New Castle woman may face felony charges after a search of her property led to evidence in an ongoing mail theft and check fraud investigation.
According to an arrest affidavit prepared by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office’s interagency Threat Assessment Group, a series of apparently connected mailbox break-ins for cash and checks has caused roughly $2,400 in damage, involved “at least 20 potential known victims” and culminated in more than $23,000 in cashed fraudulent checks.
Thursday’s arrest comes with potential charges of criminal possession of a financial transaction device and tampering with physical evidence, both felonies. Those stem from authorities’ belief that the woman was harboring several suspects and some of their stolen goods, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario explained.
“We’re not suggesting that she was actually involved in the thefts,” he said. “She just made a bad choice not to cooperate with us.”
“We’re still early in the investigation,” he added. “We’re anticipating more arrests.”
KICKING AND SCREAMING
Confronted by police on a series of warrants on the night of Sept. 9, a 22-year-old Rifle woman decided not to go quietly.
According to her arrest affidavit, she began to walk away while a deputy waiting for dispatch confirmed her warrants, prompting the deputy to grab her, take her to the ground, and handcuff her. After backup arrived, officers attempted to readjust her handcuffs, but she refused to comply or get back in the cruiser. That’s when the affidavit says she turned and kicked an officer in the groin, then fought as she was forced back into the car.
Complaining of pain in her ankle, she was transported first to Grand River Hospital — where she reportedly yelled at staff — and then to the Garfield County Jail, where she was booked on suspicion of second-degree assault, a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor.
A Rifle man called police Sept. 12 after he reportedly he woke in the night to find his ex-girlfriend in the room yelling at him.
According to her arrest affidavit, the man told police that he managed to calm her down and get her to go outside before she turned and began hitting him in the head. The story was corroborated by three witnesses, who said they helped pull her away.
Later that morning, the 22-year-old woman showed up at the police station alleging that her ex had initiated the fight, beat her up and threw a trash can at her.
She was arrested on suspicion of first-degree trespass, a felony, and harassment, a misdemeanor.
WRONG PLACE, RIGHT TIME
An investigation of a stolen vehicle found at a Parachute hotel on the night of Sept. 12 led to an unexpected second arrest when a burglary alarm sounded nearby.
Police quickly spotted a man running and apprehended a 35-year-old local resident. After reviewing surveillance footage and picking up a set of gloves, two ink cartridges and a hammer from the path of his flight, officers arrested him on suspicion of second-degree burglary and possession of burglary tools, both felonies, as well as petty theft.
The next day, police followed up on the car theft by contacting a man who met the suspect’s description. The 30-year-old told police he was looking for a ride to Grand Junction. Asked how he made it to Parachute, he initially said he got a ride with friends, then asserted that he’d borrowed a truck. Ultimately, according to his arrest affidavit, he admitted he had stolen the Dodge Ram — which was loaded with an estimated $8,000 in hunting gear and a pair of shorts containing $2,800 in cash — in Evergreen a few days before.
He was arrested for felony theft and aggravated motor vehicle theft as well as misdemeanor driving with a revoked license.
BLOWN TIRE LEADS TO METH
Something seemed amiss when law officers arrived Aug. 22 at an accident scene on Interstate 70 near Rifle.
The occupants of the car told police that the tire blew out on their boat trailer on the way to Frisco. When they couldn’t provide proof of insurance or registration, they were told that the vehicles would be towed, but refused to have them searched in the meantime.
Acting on a hunch, police searched the road near the crash site and located a bag of suspected methamphetamine, which prompted the group to jump back into their car and flee.
Having already identified the suspects, a trooper initiated a short pursuit before returning to the scene of the accident.
The driver, a 30-year-old woman from Odessa, Texas, was arrested Sept. 15 on suspicion of vehicular eluding, a felony, reckless driving, and petty theft.
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.