It seems such a shame to mar the beginnings of a perfectly lovely holiday season with messages of doom about would-be thieves and how they could target you. Unfortunately, that’s the reality in which we live. People with bad intentions don’t take the holidays off; in fact, sometimes, their activities increase.
Recently, we’ve received a few calls about people who have found tape over their door locks. This is a way for a potential thief to “mark” your home, and see if you’re paying attention. If they put a piece of transparent tape over your keyhole or your doorframe, and then they come back a few days later and the tape is unbroken, they may interpret that as a sign that no one is home. Now, in reality, we know that this is not a foolproof system; a thief’s thought process rarely is. However, it’s important to take a few simple steps to prevent a criminal from targeting your home or property.
- Check the exterior of your home often and look for things that are out of place. Many of us go in and out a garage entrance, and rarely take the time to check the perimeter of our property for red flags. Check your doors and locks. Check for a planter or other item that may have been moved. If something is suspicious, call law enforcement at (970)242-6707 and report it.
- Leave your blinds open and your porch light on. A thief is going to be less likely to approach your home if they think they could be easily observed. If your blinds are open, even if you’re not home, you could prevent yourself from being targeted by someone who doesn’t want to risk being seen on your property.
- Take time to make sure doors and windows are securely locked. Have a back door that doesn’t latch correctly? Or a broken basement window you’ve been meaning to have replaced? Don’t delay repairs that, if left unattended, could compromise the safety of your home.
- Beware of porch pirates! Packages left on the front porch are a beacon for thieves, especially this time of year. Make arrangements to have deliveries made to someone who will be home to accept them whenever possible.
- Keep valuables out of sight and secured! Theft is very often a crime of opportunity; unlocked car doors are a notorious culprit. Bring your things inside, and lock your vehicle! Keep in mind that your car can be a rolling billboard. Are you a hunter? Do you support a firearm organization? If you have stickers on your car, you’re advertising that your vehicle might be a good place to check for a firearm. Don’t make it easy.
- Develop a nightly safety routine. Search Facebook or Twitter for #9PMRoutine. Law enforcement agencies across the country are encouraging citizens to make a habit of creating a safe home environment for them, their families, and their property.
Vigilant communities and neighborhoods are the first line of defense against crime. If you have questions about additional ways that you can create a safer environment where you live, please feel free to call our Community Resource Unit at (970)549-5331.
Have a safe and joyful holiday season!
This week Crime Stoppers of Mesa County needs your help to identify and locate the suspects involved in a theft from auto.
Sometime between midnight and 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 30th , unknown suspects removed a Trek Fuel EX8 bicycle from a Toyota Tacoma truck parked at 728 Horizon Drive. The bicycle bearing serial number WTU007G0247M had a black frame with custom cherry red anodized rims and cherry red brake hubs. The total estimated damage and property loss is over $5,500. A photo of the bicycle can be viewed at http://www.241stop.com.
If you know the identity or whereabouts of the suspects involved in this crime, please call Crime Stoppers at 241-7867. Information reported to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest can earn you up to $1,000 cash reward and you will remain completely anonymous. For more information, see us at http://www.241stop.com.
GJPD Case# 2017-61946
If you plan to brave the crowds and do some holiday shopping on Black Friday, or any other time during this holiday season, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Protect yourself from electronic pickpocketing. The same technology that allows consumers to make convenient purchases with their credit or debit card can also enable a thief to steal information and make purchases on your accounts. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) allows for “contactless payment” for purchasers, forgoing the usual swipe, processing, receipt, and signature for standard electronic transactions. With the right equipment, thieves can access your card information without a direct line of sight from up to 100 meters away, simply by being in your vicinity. Consider purchasing a wallet or sleeve that blocks RFID scanner waves. They are affordable and reliable, and are sold by multiple vendors.
- We all want the lowest price possible on our holiday purchases, but not at the expense of a costly scam. When shopping online, transact business with well-known sites and retailers, and look for an “https” at the beginning of the web address. That “s” means the site uses an encrypted connection, which will help protect your financial information.
- Have you heard the term “porch pirates”? This refers to the unsavory criminals that follow delivery trucks, hoping to snag packages from your front porch before you know they’ve been delivered. If you’re ordering items online, have them shipped to a neighbor who will be home to accept the delivery, or ask the company to hold the package at their delivery center for you to pick up. Request that your package be marked “signature required,” or add special delivery instructions to have the package left out of sight, such as behind a gate or at your back door.
- As always, don’t leave valuables inside your car. Although the trunk of your car may seem like a good place to hide Santa gifts, there are plenty of “Grinches” out there who would love to access your vehicle and help themselves to the treasures tucked away inside.
As we enter into the busy holiday season this week, we wish all of you safe and peaceful celebrations with your loved ones.
At approximately 2:40pm, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to a single vehicle crash near the intersection of 25 1/2 Road and Independent Avenue. Initial investigation indicates that the driver of a Chevy truck was headed southbound on 25 1/2 Road, ran through the stop sign at Independent Avenue, and crashed into a cinder block wall on the south side of the road. The driver of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
At this time, it is suspected that some sort of medical event precipitated the crash, and there were no immediate indicators that drugs or alcohol were factors. There were no other vehicles involved, nor were there any passengers in the truck with the victim. Identification of the victim will be released by the coroner after appropriate notifications have been made.
The roads near 25 1/2 Road and Independent Avenue were closed for approximately an hour and half, reopening shortly after 4:00pm.
Shortly after 4:00pm this afternoon, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a vehicle versus pedestrian crash on the 5th Street bridge. A passenger car, driven by an 18 year old male, was headed northbound over the bridge and struck an adult male pedestrian who had stepped off the curb and into oncoming traffic. The pedestrian was transported to the hospital by medical personnel, but died from injuries sustained in the crash.
The driver of the vehicle has been fully cooperative with law enforcement, and neither speed nor drugs or alcohol appear to be a factor. There are no charges resulting from this incident at this time, and the investigation into the circumstances involved in the crash is ongoing. The coroner will be responsible for making necessary notifications and releasing the identity of the victim. Traffic has been reopened in all directions on 5th Street.
Yesterday, the Grand Junction Police Department responded to two incidents which resulted in two local schools being put into shelter in place and lockdown.
At approximately 1:30pm, officers attempted to contact Austin Cook, 19, who was known to have outstanding warrants for his arrest, in the 500 Block of N 2nd Street. Cook fled from officers, who pursued on foot. Cook was observed in the area of the shopping center on the northwest corner of 1st Street and Grand Avenue. Due to the proximity to Dual Immersion Academy, the school was advised to institute shelter in place until the situation was under control. Cook was placed into custody within minutes of the incident beginning. He was found to have a loaded handgun in the backpack he was carrying. Ultimately, Cook was remanded to the Mesa County Jail for multiple warrants, as well as charges of Obstructing a Peace Officer (M2), 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass, Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon (M2), Possession of Handguns by Juveniles (M2), and Illegal Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia. Cook was also charged with a robbery that occurred on November 8 in the 200 Block of Chipeta Avenue, and booked on those related charges, as well.
Shortly after that incident, at about 2:15pm, dispatch received a 911 call from a staff member at Landmark Baptist Church, located at 1600 Ute Avenue. The staff member stated that two young students of the private school there witnessed an armed male attempt to enter a locked door at the school. Officers responded immediately and the school was placed in lockdown. Multiple officers searched the surrounding area for the suspect, based on the description provided by the students, as well as additional officers who stayed inside the school with staff and students. Approximately an hour later, a male was arrested for felony menacing in the 2800 Block of North Avenue for threatening a victim with a machete. The suspect somewhat matched the description provided by the students at Landmark, but he has not been associated to that incident at this time.
Please remember that you can sign up for security alerts through Mesa County Valley School District 51 through their website here. If your child attends a school that is not associated to the School District, we recommend that you reach out to their administrators to find out how emergency communications are shared with parents. The protection of children in our community is paramount to the Grand Junction Police Department. We appreciate the cooperation and support of school staff, students, and parents in partnering with us to keep them safe.
This morning at 8:22am, officers were dispatched to a residence in the 2800 Block of Hall Avenue on a report of an unconscious adult female. Upon arrival, personnel with the Grand Junction Fire Department transported the female to the hospital. Additional information on the condition of the victim is not available at this time, but she is believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries.
Detectives with the Grand Junction Police Department interviewed the reporting party, who is also the female’s boyfriend, identified as Oscar Rodriguez, 24, and based on their investigation, Rodriguez was taken into custody for 2nd degree assault and domestic violence. He is being held at the Mesa County Jail with no bond, pending his first appearance before a judge. A booking photo for Rodriguez is not available at this time.