Thieves who ripped off $9,000 in tools busted for trying to resell them
EDWARDS — If you’re going to steal tools from construction sites, do not try to sell them to the people from whom they were stolen.
Two men were arrested and one deported after they tried to sell thousands of dollars worth of allegedly stolen tools to the men from whom they were stolen, and possibly with whom they worked.
Cesar Arturo Sanchez-Medina, 18, Jesus Guerrero Portillo-Nunez, 36, and Jose Francisco Galaraza-Lopez were all arrested and charged with burglary after they implicated one another during questioning by Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies.
Portillo-Nunez claimed he was the lookout while Sanchez-Medina cut holes in tool boxes on job sites and took the tools. They split $9,000 worth of tools to sell, a Sheriff’s investigation report said.
Sanchez-Medina also had cocaine in his pocket, wrapped in a dollar bill, when he was booked into the Eagle County jail. In addition to burglary he faces a charge of introducing a controlled substance into the jail.
$9,000 in tools stolen
The owner of a local construction company called to report that more than $9,000 worth of tools had been stolen and that the thieves had done more than $1,000 in damage to the locked tool boxes from which the tools were taken.
Dep. Robert Burner quickly learned that three employees decided to help local law enforcement, so they were “watching” a man they believed was involved with that theft.
They followed a silver Toyota Tundra pickup to the man’s mobile home in Edwards, where they saw two other men loading tools into it. The truck pulled out of the Edwards trailer court and headed west on Highway 6.
Dep. Cory Diss swung around from the Wolcott exit and headed east on Highway 6 toward Edwards, hoping to intercept the truck.
The truck turned south up Squaw Creek Road toward Cordillera. Deputies followed until there was only one set of tire tracks in the snow leading toward a house.
That’s about the time that three men walked out of the house and were informed that the deputies would like a word with them.
One of the three men turned out to be one of the theft victims, according to the investigation report.
Sanchez-Medina and Portillo-Nunez had reportedly tried to sell him some of his own stolen tools. Among those stolen tools was one for cutting steel, which was apparently used to cut into the back of the steel tool boxes from which the tools were stolen.
The man told deputies that he knows the tools were his because he dabs them with paint, just like the paint that was dabbed on the stolen tools that Sanchez-Medina and Portillo-Nunez were trying to sell him.
He told deputies he would be willing to set up a meeting with the seller.
So they did, at 5 p.m. that day at a Lake Creek Village garage.
It was him, not me
That man led deputies to Galarza-Lopez, who insisted he, too, was just the lookout and did not actually steal the tools, but Sanchez-Medina did. Be that as it may, Galarza-Lopez was given a summons for burglary.
Deputies showed Galarza-Lopez a picture of Sanchez-Medina who told them, yes, that’s the guy who actually stole the tools.
That led deputies to Portillo-Nunez at his Lake Creek apartment. He took them back to his bedroom where they could talk in private. In the closet and on the floor were piles of tools. Most were dabbed and sprayed with paint, just like the ones that were reported stolen.
Portillo-Nunez confessed after a brief conversation with a Spanish-speaking deputy, the report said.
The next morning, Sanchez-Medina turned up for work right on time. Portillo-Nunez told deputies that, yup, Cesar was the guy he was with when the tools were stolen.
Multiple searches turned up about half the stolen tools, the incident report said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.