Crime briefs: three men found in rifle chop shop |

Crime briefs: three men found in rifle chop shop

Ryan Summerlin

Rifle police arrested two men on felony charges for aggravated motor vehicle theft and “chop shop activity” on Monday.

Early Nov. 18 morning, a Rifle man woke to find his truck, a black Dodge Ram 2500, was missing.

Then on Monday, a man who rents a Rifle storage unit was alerted to someone trespassing in his unit. When officers arrived, three trespassers were still there. The officer could hear people and the sounds of metal objects inside. Among them was the renter’s 21-year-old nephew.

All three men appeared nervous. “Their entire body was shaking and [two] had dry mouth. All three men had a hard time standing still and kept pacing and tapping their feet,” the officer reported.

Inside the unit the officer immediately found a plume of smoke and chemical smell.

“The smoke was so thick, I could clearly see the beam of my flashlight passing through it. I saw several Acetylene and oxygen tanks, with torches.” The officer found vehicle parts strewn about the floor, including the cab of a black Dodge Ram 2500, “stripped of all seats, steering wheel and all interior components.”

The trucks doors were all removed. The cab and bed were separated. The engine compartment was removed and the engine was lying on the ground. Transmission parts and other mechanical parts were lying around. “There was a line going through the center exterior of the cab, consistent with the cab being cut into multiple pieces. The entire chassis had been cut into pieces; each about 3 to 5 feet in length,” the officer reported.

The vehicle identification number had been removed in three different locations.

The 21-year-old acknowledged that the truck was stolen but said that he had not stolen it. He also acknowledged that the parts were going to be sold, but he said that he had merely provided the place for the truck to be dismantled.

The 21-year-old said that he was being forced to provide a location. He “stated ‘they’ had been threatening him and his family,” according to an arrest report. He told officers that he owed money to a “large organization” and that “honestly, he would never be done paying them.”

He added that “he only felt he could see things clearly [when] he would do ‘Crystal.’” He told officers that “he would do bad things and then regret them.”

Eventually the 21-year-old broke down crying and pulling his hair, and said “that he had stolen the truck and that he had cut it up. [He] said he had done everything,” according to an affidavit.

Two of the men were arrested on felony charges of aggravated motor vehicle theft, first-degree trespassing and two counts of chop shop activity.

Man arrested in Green Cross robbery

Silt police responded to a robbery at Green Cross Nov. 17 evening. The suspect was described as a man who had his face covered.

While en route to the marijuana shop, police learned that the suspect “was detained in the street by two employees,” as reported by a Silt officer. The man had struck one of the employees in the face, then grabbed for the cash drawer, according to an employee. At the scene officers found a large amount of cash lying in the street and two men, employees of the marijuana shop, holding the suspect down.

The suspect told officers that he had a gun, but that it wasn’t real.

One of the employees reported chasing the suspect outside and knocking the gun out of the man’s hand. Officer found the gun, which turned out to be plastic. After he was loaded into the ambulance, officer searched him and found “what appeared to be a plastic silencer,” an officer reported.

The suspect also bit an employee, leaving an “extensive” bloody wound on his arm. And medics demanded he seek treatment at the hospital.

The suspect was arrested on felony charges of first-degree assault, aggravated robbery, first-degree burglary, menacing and possession of a dangerous weapon. His arresting charges also included misdemeanor theft.

Estranged husband charged with felony trespassing

A man going through a divorce drove all the way from Montana to where his wife was staying in Rifle, and got a felony trespassing charge as a result.

After he kicked the wife out of their home in Montana, she had been staying with a couple in Rifle since July. The 57-year-old husband had some mental health issues and spent some time in a mental health hospital, police learned.

The wife had not talked with him since July, and got a new phone with a new number so he couldn’t call her.

But on Nov. 17, he showed up at the Rifle couple’s front door. He knocked on the door and then walked right in before anyone answered, saying he wanted to speak to his wife, they reported to police. He said that if he could not speak to his wife, he would take his dog, according to an affidavit.

The man who lives there grabbed him by his clothes an escorted him out and off the property.

Speaking to Rifle police, the man said he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong. He’d simply knocked on the door, and when he found it unlocked, he cracked it open, then stepped inside.

The wife reported that him coming into the house scared her. She feared that he “might kidnap her and lock her away somewhere,” as he blamed his stay at the mental hospital on her.

He was arrested on a felony charge of first-degree criminal trespass. And domestic violence was applied as a sentence enhancer.

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