Tip: Don’t talk about theft plans at the bar
James Arthur Ward, Jr. 26, of Rifle, became Garfield County’s first felony arrest of the year when he accused of stealing a wallet early on the morning of Jan. 1.
According to his arrest affidavit, Ward told the people next to him at a Rifle bar that he’d taken the wallet and was going to make some purchases at the local Wal-Mart. Rifle police responded to the store, where a man by Ward’s description had filled a cart with televisions, audio equipment and video game consoles.
Ward was found in the bathroom washing his hands, and consented to a search that turned up keys, a lighter and a pocketknife, but no wallet. He admitted to filling the cart with electronics, but denied taking the wallet, claiming that he had laid it on a stool in the bar before leaving.
Asked how he intended to buy nearly $3,000 in merchandise without any money on him, Ward told police he had left his wallet in the car, which was parked some distance away despite an empty parking lot. Police searched the vehicle and found a wallet with Ward’s identification and his cell phone, but turned up no sign of the missing wallet.
A friend arrived to pick Ward up, but just as they were pulling away police located the wallet in a nearby dumpster. Officers flagged down the car, and according to the affidavit, an officer noticed Ward remove something from his sock and slide it under a box in the back seat. Three credit cards were recovered, although $3,000 in cash that was reportedly in the wallet remains missing.
Ward was arrested for theft, identity theft and tampering with physical evidence, all felonies, and attempt to commit, a misdemeanor, and released on an $8,000 bond.
GUNSHOT LEADS TO DRUG ARREST
Glenwood Springs police and Garfield County deputies responded to a report of a gunshot along South Canyon Creek Road on the evening of Jan. 10.
They found Luis Enrique Garcia, 34, of Glenwood, passed out in the front seat of an idling Ford Explorer with an open bottle of liquor and a 9mm handgun, and Esmerelda Duran-Cabrera, 19, of Glenwood, asleep in the back seat.
Police secured the gun. They learned that Garcia had a local arrest warrant for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. According to the pair’s arrest affidavit, both the chamber and magazine of the gun turned out to be empty, but search of the car yielded five live cartridges, one spent casing and 10.53 grams of suspected cocaine. Garcia was found to be in possession of a large amount of cash, mostly in 20s, and a purse in the back seat contained another 9mm.
Garcia refused to submit to a blood alcohol test and requested a lawyer, while Duran-Cabrera laughed and smirked while questioned and said she didn’t know anything, according to the affidavit.
Duran-Cabrera was arrested for having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, prohibited use of weapons and felony drug distribution, and released on a personal recognizance bond.
Garcia was arrested for open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, prohibited use of weapons, DUI, possession of a weapon while under the influence, felony possession of a weapon by a previous offender, felony drug distribution and failure to appear, and issued a $6,000 bond.
In other cases:
• Early on the morning of Jan. 10, a Garfield County deputy noticed a running car parked on a curb near Rifle and someone apparently hiding behind another car nearby. The deputy decided to circle the block.
On the second pass, Lisa Lynn Hankes, 47, of Rifle, was in the driver’s seat of the running car. She turned out to have an active warrant for failure to comply and a suspended license.
She was arrested for driving without a license, failing to provide proof of insurance and failure to comply, as well as felony possession of a controlled substance when a bag of suspected methamphetamine was found in the car.
• Wesley Earl Cherry, the third suspect in a Jan. 4 assault in Rifle, was arrested Jan. 9 and charged with first-degree burglary and second-degree assault, both felonies.
Cherry, 28, of Rifle, was with Derrick Gage Smith, 27, of New Castle, who is accused of attacking a man with a wrench. During the incident, a child in the home also suffered a minor injury. Cherry reportedly urged Smith to flee. Smith and Tajia Cleveland, 24, of Lander, Wyoming, were pulled over and arrested the same day, but Cherry was not with them.
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The Bureau of Land Management reported a 20-acre fire along Baxter Pass in far western Garfield County on Monday night.