Teen suspects in auto thefts to remain in detention
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Two local teenagers suspected in an auto theft crime spree that is believed to have crossed into at least four different counties were advised of the charges against them in Garfield County Juvenile Court Wednesday.
The youths, ages 14, from Glenwood Springs, and 16, from El Jebel, are charged with multiple counts of felony motor vehicle theft, trespassing and attempted theft in the case, which involved police agencies from Aspen to New Castle.
The 14-year-old was arrested Oct. 30 in New Castle after reportedly being held at gunpoint by the owner of a vehicle he was allegedly trying to steal. He is additionally charged with illegally carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a handgun by a minor.
The older youth was arrested Oct. 31 after being interviewed about a car theft that occurred in Carbondale on Oct. 29. He is charged with felony aggravated motor vehicle theft, attempted motor vehicle theft and conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft.
The case remains under investigation, and additional arrests are still possible, according to law enforcement officials.
In a press release issued late last week, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario also referred to the teens as being “validated” members of the criminal Sureno gang, based on information gathered in the investigation.
The youths are accused of stealing seven vehicles between Oct. 25 and 30, including five in Garfield and Pitkin counties, one in the Steamboat Springs area and one in Denver.
They are also believed to have burglarized eight other vehicles, stealing electronics and the handgun recovered from the 14-year-old in the New Castle arrest. The younger of the two, a native of Mexico, is also under an immigration hold placed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Service.
“We are very concerned about this serious, serious criminal behavior,” Deputy Ninth District Attorney Tony Hershey said during the Wednesday hearing.
Both suspects were ordered by Garfield County Judge Paul Metzger to remain in juvenile detention in Grand Junction, pending the next hearing in the cases on Dec. 14.
Vallario credited close work among local law enforcement agencies and federal agents in linking the suspects to the crimes, which led to the recovery of all seven stolen vehicles.
Editor’s note: Although the Post Independent initially published the names of the juvenile suspects in this case, we have made the decision to withhold them for the time being. The names that were included in the original story on the arrests have been excised from the online version.
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