This week Crime Stoppers of Mesa County is requesting information that will lead to the identification of the suspects that wrote checks from a closed account.
At approximately 4:05 pm on Thursday, January 14th, a newer model white SUV with dark tinted windows pulled up to the City Market gas pumps located at 630 24 Road. A white male subject, approximately 25-45 years of age with dark hair, a dark mustache and goatee, wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket over a bright blue shirt paid for the gas with the bad check. The other male subject pumped the gas. The surveillance photo of the vehicle and the suspect that wrote the check can be viewed at http://www.241STOP.com.
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
Shortly before 8:00am, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to the area of S. 1st Street and Pitkin Avenue, on a report of a motor vehicle accident.
Investigation revealed that a passenger car, driven by an adult female, was traveling eastbound on Pitkin, and attempted a left turn from the center lane. The vehicle turned in front of another driver, resulting in a collision that caused the passenger vehicle to spin 180 degrees. The driver of the passenger car ended up traveling westbound on Pitkin, ultimately colliding with the concrete barriers. The driver suffered multiple injuries and had to be extricated from the vehicle by rescue workers. The driver was transported to the hospital, where she later died as a result of her injuries.
The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident remains open and active. The Mesa County Coroner will be responbsible for releasing the identity of the driver.
At approximately 1:00 on Tuesday morning, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a report of an intoxicated male in the area of the mall. The victim stated that when he returned to his vehicle after getting off of work, he found an unknown subject had locked himself in the victim’s vehicle. The suspect demanded the victim’s keys and threatened to kill him. The victim stated he felt he was in imminent danger, and he stated be thought the suspect appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
When officers arrived on scene, the suspect was outside of the vehicle. The suspect backed away from the officers and refused their commands. Further, the suspect was yelling at the officers, making statements such as, “You are fake cops,” “I have a gun,” and, “I’m going to kill you.” While making these statements, the suspect was holding something silver and reflective in his hand–at one point, raising it and pointing it at the officers. This object was later found to be a silver, metal lighter, fashioned to look like a small handgun.
After continuing to ignore commands from the officers, the suspect attempted to run. After a short foot pursuit, officers apprehended the male and attempted to place him into custody. The suspect continued to resist officers and was subsequently tased. Once in custody, the male suspect, identified as Eric Wilkinson, 29, was transported to the hospital for medical evaluation. At the hospital, Wilkinson continued to make violent threats towards officers. A search of Wilkinson’s clothing revealed a hypodermic needle, which Wilkinson stated was “for meth.”
“Police officers in Grand Junction, and all across the country, find themselves in similar situations with alarming regularity,” said Chief John Camper, of the Grand Junction Police Department. “The restraint demonstrated by these officers is commendable, and we should all appreciate the gravity of such a decision. These officers would have faced intense scrutiny and criticism had they chosen to use deadly force, yet the decision not to use deadly force carries significant risk had this turned out to be a real gun. It’s a shame that the current national discussion on law enforcement use of force places officers in a no-win situation. In contrast to the narrative we so often hear portrayed, these officers, like most officers all across the country, showed incredible restraint, a willingness to try de-escalation and less lethal force, and a commitment to protecting life.”
Ultimately, Wilkinson was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Jail on the following charges:
Felony Menacing (F5), Misdemeanor Menacing (M3), Criminal Attempt (aggravated robbery for attempting to steal the victim’s keys by threatening his life) (F4), 1st Degree Criminal Trespass of Auto (F5), Theft (M3), Obstructing a Peace Officer (M2), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (DPO).
On Tuesday night, shortly after 7:00pm, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to the Stop and Save convenience store, located at 621 24 Road, on a report of an armed robbery. The victim, an employee of the store, stated that a masked man entered the business, brandished a handgun, and demanded money. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspect left the business and was seen leaving the area in a white passenger car, driven by an unknown female.
Approximately 30 minutes later, officers were dispatched to a reported carjacking in the Redlands. The victim reported that he picked up a male and female near the West Gate Inn. The couple advised the victim that their vehicle had broken down, and the victim agreed to give them a ride. The victim stated that when they were in the area of Rio Linda Lane and the Redlands Parkway, the male, who was riding in the front passenger seat, produced a large, fixed blade knife, and threatened the victim with it. The female began striking the victim from the back seat, while the male took the keys out of the truck, exited the passenger side, and came around to the driver’s side of the truck, pulling the victim out of the vehicle. The suspects then fled the area in the victim’s vehicle.
Within this timeframe, the white sedan, which was the vehicle associated with the robbery of the convenience store, was located, abandoned on Scarlet Drive.
Dispatch was able to air this information, including the description and plate number of the stolen truck, to law enforcement in surrounding counties. At approximately 9:00pm, law enforcement in Garfield County located the truck on I-70. The truck failed to yield to emergency vehicles, and was pursued by law enforcement from several agencies, with speeds reported to reach as much as 100mph. Even after several of the truck’s tires were deflated, the suspects continued to attempt to flee from law enforcement. Eventually, the pursuit ended near Glenwood Springs, and the suspects, identified as Kelsy Capps, 23, of Kansas, and Nathanael Owens, 35, of Rifle, were taken into custody.
Both Capps and Owens face charges in Garfield County, as well as a no bond warrant out of the Grand Junction Police Department for charges of Aggravated Robbery, Felony Menacing, Assault, Theft, and Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft.
On Sunday, at approximately 1:00am, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to the 400 Block of 30 1/4 Road, after multiple reports of gun shots heard in the area.
Officers located a vehicle parked at a school in the area, and contacted the driver and passenger. The driver of the vehicle informed officers that there was a rifle in the vehicle, but denied any knowledge of gun shots in the area. A routine records check was performed on both subjects, revealing active arrests warrants for both of them. The driver was identified as Joaquin Tafoya, 38, and the passenger as Amanda Burke, 29.
Officers also observed a pipe, commonly used to smoke methamphetamine, in the center cup holder of the truck. A subsequent search of the vehicle was performed, revealing a clear plastic baggy containing suspected methamphetamine in the same cup holder, underneath the pipe. The rifle, which the driver voluntarily told officers about earlier, was also located, along with a small amount of ammunition.
Tafoya was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Jail, on charges of Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (DF4), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (DPO), and Special Offender (DF1), for possessing a firearm while also being in possession of drugs. He was also booked on his warrant.
Burke was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Jail, for Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (DF4), as well as three outstanding warrants.
A couple of hours later, at around 3:00am, on Sunday morning, officers were dispatched to a report of a crash in the area of 25 Road and Patterson Road. Upon arrival, a sedan was found to have hit a tree on the northwest corner of the intersection. Witnesses on scene stated that they arrived in the area right after the crash occurred, and saw the driver of the vehicle get out of the driver’s seat, retrieve a backpack from the passenger side, and then run into the gas station. As she ran past them, the driver told witnesses not to call the police.
The driver of the vehicle, identified as Arlene Grijalva, 21, was contacted and evaluated by medical personnel. Officers attempted to interview Grijalva, and observed several factors known to indicate that a subject is under the influence, such as reddened conjunctiva, dilated pupils, and slow, slurred speech. Grijalva also had a difficult time staying awake during contact with officers. Grijalva was arrested for driving under the influence and a subsequent search was performed on her car and backpack. In the backpack, officers located a small baggie containing a white crystalline substance, which tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine.
Grijalva was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Jail, for Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (DF4), DUI, Driving with a Denied License, and Careless Driving.
Over the last few weeks, the Grand Junction Police Department has seen an increase in reports involving counterfeit money. Generally, we’re seeing counterfeit $100, $50, and $20 bills, being passed at fast food establishments, auto supply stores, and grocery stores. However, all businesses should be aware of this trend and should be alert to any transaction that seems suspicious.
Counterfeit bills are often slightly smaller than real bills, and they’re typically printed on paper that feels different than genuine currency. Also, denominations that are missing the security strip or watermark are likely fake. To learn more about the security features found in bills of various denominations, go to www.uscurrency.gov.
Here is an image of a fake $100 bill recently seized as evidence by the Grand Junction Police Department:
If someone tries to pass suspected counterfeit money at your business, retain the bill(s) and call non-emergency dispatch at (970)242-6707. If you feel safe doing so, ask the person that passed the money to stay on scene until an officer arrives; sometimes, the person passing the currency is unaware that it’s fake, and is willing to be cooperative with an investigation. If you feel uneasy, let the subject leave. If the person doesn’t want to stay on scene, you should never try to detain them. If they leave, try to be a good witness. Get a good description of the person, and information on any vehicle with which they may be associated.
The best defense against crimes of fraud is public awareness and education. Please be sure to share this with anyone you know that deals with cash transactions in our community. If you find yourself in possession of currency that you believe is not authentic, call non-emergency dispatch at (970)242-6707, and request to speak with an officer.
Attached is the warrant containing additional charges for Austin Patrick Holzer, DOB 04/11/98, for which he was arrested on Monday, February 15. Holzer was originally arrested for shooting Deputy Derek Geer, of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, on Monday, February 8. Holzer was initially arrested as a juvenile, for attempted murder. Deputy Geer later died as a result of those injuries. This investigation has been turned over to the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT).
As a result of the investigation by CIRT, the original juvenile charges are being dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office, and Holzer was arrested on the following charges as an adult:
1. Murder in the 1st Degree of a Peace Officer (1 felony), in violation of CRS 18-3-102 and 18-3-107
2. 1st Degree Assault (3 Felony) in violation of CRS 18-3-202 (3 counts)
3. 1st Degree Criminal Trespass (5 felony) in violation of CRS 18-4-502 (1 count)
4. Tampering with Evidence (6 felony) in violation of CRS 18-8-610
5. Failure to register as a sex offender (6 felony) in violation of CRS 18-3-412.5 (1 count)
6. Defacing a Firearm (2 misdemeanor) in violation of CRS 18-12-104 (1 count)
7. Possession of a defaced firearm (1 misdemeanor) in violation of CRS 18-12-103
8. Theft (2M) in violation of CRS 18-4-401 (3 counts)
9. Possession of a handgun by a juvenile (2 misdemeanor) in violation of CRS 18-12-108.5
10. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon (2 misdemeanor) in violation of CRS 18-12-105
11. Direct File, CRS 19-2-517 (l)(a)(I) Juvenile is 16 years of age or older at the time of the commission of the alleged offense, and is alleged to have committed a class 1 felony
You can read the warrant in its entirety by clicking on the following link. Witness information and specific medical details have been redacted.
The Critical Incident Response Team is comprised of the following agencies: Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Fruita Police Department, Palisade Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office ,Colorado Department of Corrections and Colorado Bureau of Investigation. It is generally activated when a law enforcement agency is involved in an incident to ensure a neutral, impartial and thorough criminal investigation of these incidents is conducted.