Earlier this week, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were able to identify three juveniles who are suspected of unlawfully entering numerous unlocked vehicles and stealing various items in the late night hours of Sunday, August 21, and into the early morning of Monday, August 22. The thefts were concentrated in the area of the Spyglass subdivision, the Applewood subdivision (sometimes referred to as the Knolls), and neighborhoods around Canyon View Park. Numerous items of stolen property have been recovered, and officers would like to identify victims and property owners from these crimes.
If you live in one of these neighborhoods, or had your vehicle parked there in this time frame, we would ask that you check the inventory of your car to see if you are missing any items. If you are, or even if you’re not, but you suspect that your car was entered, please call the Grand Junction Police Department at (970)242-6707, and reference case number 16-50150. We’d love to reunite this recovered property with the rightful owners.
Shortly after midnight on Sunday, an officer with the Grand Junction Police Department observed a vehicle parked near the intersection of N. 14th Street and Elm Avenue with a beer bottle on the roof of the car and a male standing outside of the vehicle, who appeared to be underage. Upon seeing the officer, the male immediately entered the vehicle and attempted to drive away from the area. The officer was able to stop the vehicle, and contacted the driver and occupants.
In addition to the driver, there were three passengers in the vehicle, one of whom was identified as Tyrone Gibson, 18. Gibson was seated in the rear driver’s side seat of the vehicle, and officers observed that Gibson was holding an alcoholic beverage between his legs. All of the occupants of the vehicle were asked to exit and sit on the curb. When Gibson was asked to be patted down for weapons, he attempted to flee northbound. An officer was able to grab Gibson in a bear hug, and Gibson immediately began reaching for his pants pocket. Gibson was taken to the ground and placed in handcuffs. A search of Gibson revealed a loaded pistol, drug paraphernalia, and cocaine in his pants pockets. Gibson was found to have an active warrant for his arrest, and a check of the serial number on the pistol in his possession revealed that the gun had been reported as stolen.
Gibson was booked into the Mesa County Jail for charges including Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (DF4), Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon (M2), Possession of Weapons by a Previous Offender (F5), Illegal Possession/Consumption of Marijuana Under 21 YOA (PO), Illegal Possession/Consumption of Alcohol Under 21 YOA (PO), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (PO), and Resisting Arrest (M2).
The driver of the vehicle, Drew Ludwig, 18, was issued a summons for DUI and possession of alcohol and marijuana, and an additional juvenile passenger was issued a summons for possession of marijuana and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance.
Representatives from the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center were in Orlando, Florida, earlier this week, to receive an Agency Training Program Certification, awarded by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International.
According to a press release sent out by APCO International, “public safety agencies utilize the APCO International Agency Training Program Certification as a formal mechanism to ensure their training programs meet APCO American National Standards (ANS). Initial and continuing training for public safety telecommunicators is important as they provide essential services to the public in an expanding and rapidly changing environment.”
In 2015, a team of Communication Training Officers (CTOs) in the GJRCC overhauled the training program for dispatchers. This collaborative effort resulted in an astounding 100% retention rate of trainees in the Communication Center last year. That’s incredibly difficult to accomplish in any line of work, but is especially significant in a profession for which so few are equipped.
Monica Million, the Communication Center manager, says, “There are fewer than 300 centers in the country who have received this certification, out of an estimated 6,000 centers across the United States. This is just another validation that the things we are doing here in Grand Junction are best practices followed by many of our partners across the country.”
The Grand Junction Regional Communication Center was recognized during the Food for Thought Luncheon, which took place as part of APCO 2016, APCO’s 82nd Annual Conference & Expo, in Orlando, FL, August 14-17.
Last night, the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center received information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that a subject wanted by their agency for an abduction out of Bradley County, Tennessee, was suspected to be in Mesa County. Officers and deputies with the Palisade Police Department and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office were able to locate the suspect vehicle on I-70, near the Clifton exit. Detectives with the Grand Junction Police Department also responded to the scene. The suspect in this case, Michael Wilson, 35, was taken into custody on an arrest warrant related to this case. The victim of the abduction, a 2 year old female who is Wilson’s daughter, was also located, and appeared to be unharmed. The child was turned over to the Mesa County Department of Human Services, until she can be reunited with her custodial guardian. After being interviewed by detectives with the Grand Junction Police Department, Wilson was remanded to the custody of the Mesa County Jail, where he will remain pending extradition. The FBI expressed their gratitude for the impressive collaboration by multiple Grand Valley law enforcement agencies.
On Sunday night, shortly after 11:00pm, an officer with the Grand Junction Police Department observed a white Chevy Cobalt traveling northbound on 28 1/4 Road from Orchard Avenue. The vehicle appeared to have a flat rear passenger tire. A records check of the license pate on the vehicle returned with an association to a subject with an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, and other units arrived to assist.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Thomas Laitinen, 47. The passenger in the vehicle was identified as Samuel Frost, 41. A check of Laitinten’s name confirmed that his license was suspended and he had three active warrants for his arrest. Laitinen was placed into custody.
At this time, other officers on scene observed what appeared to be a pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine in the vehicle in plain sight. When asked, Laitinen said that he was holding the pipe for a friend. Laitinen stated that he didn’t have any other property in the car, but did advise that there was a rifle on the back floorboard of the vehicle. By this time, Frost, the passenger of the vehicle, had been asked out of the car and had advised that he was a convicted felon, and that the gun was not his. A backpack was located in the back seat, next to the gun. Both Laitinen and Frost denied ownership of the backpack.
A search of the vehicle was conducted, to include the backpack. Inside the backpack were two large bags, weighing over 1.5lbs, of a white crystalline substance, appearing to be methamphetamine. There were also several items of drug paraphernalia in the bag, as well as a large amount of cash. Also located in the bag were several documents with the name Samuel Frost on them, as well as a switchblade.
Both subjects were arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Jail. Laitinen was charged with Possession of a Weapon while in Possession of Drugs (DF1), Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (DF4), Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (DF1), Driving with a Restrained License, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (DPO), and Driving without Insurance, as well as the warrants.
Frost was charged with Possession of a Weapon while in Possession of Drugs (DF1), Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (DF4), Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (DF1), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (DPO), Possession of an Illegal Weapon (M1), and Possession of Weapons by a Previous Offender (F6).
On August 3rd, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to a report of a burglary at 780 Kennedy Avenue, a property owned by Colorado Mesa University. It was reported that someone unlawfully entered the residence, which is used for storage for various University departments, and stole items valued in excess of $20,000. The reporting party also located items that indicated someone had been sleeping in the residence.
On August 10, an employee with CMU made another report of a burglary at the same location, this time from a storage area in the garage. Upon arriving at the scene to investigate, officers located a male sleeping in a chair inside the residence. The male, identified as Thomas Loffreda, 50, did not have permission to be in the residence, and when asked why he thought it was okay to enter the house, he stated that he thought it was okay “since there were no ‘no trespassing’ signs.” When contacted, Loffreda was wearing items that had been reported as stolen from the residence in the original burglary report. Officers responded to Loffreda’s residence, in the 1200 Block of Bookcliff Avenue, to look for further evidence from the burglary. Upon arrival, officers observed a blue kayak outside of Loffreda’s apartment. Knowing that a blue kayak was reported stolen in the original burglary report, officers contacted a CMU employee, who was able to confirm that the kayak at the residence was indeed the same kayak that was reported stolen from the residence on Kennedy a week earlier. While executing a search warrant for Loffreda’s residence, officers located additional items from the burglary, as well as drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine.
Thomas Loffreda was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Jail on the following charges:
2 counts of 2nd Degree Burglary (F3), Theft (F4), 1st Degree Criminal Trespass of a Dwelling (F5), Criminal Mischief (M3), 2 counts of Violation of a Protection Order (M2), Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (F4), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (PO2), and Violation of Bail Bond Conditions (F6).
The Grand Junction Police Department needs your help to locate the suspects involved in a theft and burglary.
Sometime between 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 26th and 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 28th, unknown subjects unlawfully entered a Wells Cargo trailer parked inside the Partners’ Western Colorado Conservation Corps property located at 2818 ½ North Avenue. Once inside, the suspects removed a two part Dolmar gas and oil can, two orange and white Stihl Chainsaws with 20” bars, each had an engraving, one of “S8” and the other of “S9.” Also, an Ammo toolbox containing spare chainsaw parts. The total estimated property loss is over $1,800.
If you know the identity of the subjects involved in this crime, please contact 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