Crime Briefs: Cross-country scam trial set for Glenwood
Three suspects in a series of scams at area gas stations will be tried locally after their arrest in Palm Springs, California, in October.
Sean Acree, 18, of Cincinnati; Jerry Davies, 40, of Silt; and Katherine Ferneding, 25, of Silt, were booked at the Garfield County Jail on Feb. 21 on felony theft charges.
The group is implicated in a series of scams across nine states, including at least eight stations in western Colorado.
According to the warrant affidavit, Glenwood Springs Police became aware of the scam in July 2014, when a man, later identified as Davies, called a local gas station masquerading as a manager and told the clerk he was sending someone to obtain money for parts. While they were on the phone, a man, later identified as Acree, arrived to complete the payout, which amounted to more than $1,000 in cash.
A real manager was notified and called the police, who reviewed surveillance footage and began connecting the crime to other incidents from Grand Junction to Carbondale, with about half of the $8,000 missing from Garfield County. A third suspect, later identified as Ferneding, was observed apparently conducting surveillance ahead of time at several of the affected businesses.
The break in the case came when a man called to tell police that Davies had tried to recruit him to be part of the scheme. The affidavit indicated that Acree had used the same scam elsewhere in the past, and had several felony warrants for his arrest.
SNOW SHOVELING RAGE
An argument over noise led to a felony menacing arrest on Feb. 23, after a man reported being threatened with a gun at the Glenwood apartment complex where he’s contracted to shovel snow.
According to the arrest affidavit, the man told police that a man later identified as Alec Wolfe Guenther, 22, of Glenwood, had “cussed him out” when he began shovelling around 6 a.m., and had arrived and pointed a gun at him after he finished and was walking back to his truck. When the snow shoveler threatened to call police, Guenther reportedly responded “I got my own law right here.”
Police said Guenther later admitted to an argument but not to wielding a gun. He consented to a search, which turned up a shotgun, prompting his arrest for felony menacing.
ACCUSED OF STEALING FROM HIS GRANDMA
After a Rifle woman reported $1,000 in fraudulent charges in her checking account, police identified her grandson, Brandon Douglas Straight, 19, of Rifle, as the culprit.
According to his arrest affidavit, Straight cashed several checks with illegible signatures, which the bank found didn’t match his grandmother’s. He aroused extra suspicion when he was recognized by a former classmate who worked at the bank and deliberately chose another teller to cash a $300 check.
When he was contacted by police on Feb. 7, Straight denied cashing the checks. He said that his ID had been missing for some time, and suggested that a man who had been staying with him could be the culprit.
He was arrested on three counts of felony identity theft, two counts of felony forgery and one count of misdemeanor theft. A search of his person turned up 9 grams of marijuana, adding possession of marijuana by an underage person, a misdemeanor, to the charges.
ACCUSED OF STEALING FROM THE BOSS
When a Parachute man found his wallet, a $3,000 pair of binoculars, and a handgun missing from his unlocked car — and his AR-15 assault rifle missing from his workbench, he did some investigating of his own.
He took a list of credit card purchases, which also included stops at Chick-Fil-A and Wal-Mart, and obtained surveillance footage at a gas station. Matching the time of a charge to the footage, he identified a potential suspect as one of his employees, James Clinton Kinsey, 37, of Parachute.
According to the arrest affidavit, he described Kinsey as a reliable employee for several years before he “fell off the wagon” in recent months, not even showing up for work in two weeks.
Police reviewed the footage and checked the suspect’s appearance against Kinsey’s Facebook page. They also spoke with Kinsey’s wife, who told them he had been away for over a week and wouldn’t tell her where he was.
A warrant was issued Feb. 14, and Kinsey was arrested Feb. 25.
Kinsey, who has a criminal record, was charged with first-degree criminal trespass, a felony; and misdemeanor identity theft, and booked on $8,000 bond.
Editor’s note: Crime Briefs are drawn from arrest affidavits and other public documents. Summonses or arrests merely indicate an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless found guilty in court.
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Glenwood Springs City Council member Shelley Kaup says she will seek reelection to another four-year term to one of council’s two at-large seats in the April 3 election.