Mesa County Colorado

Orchard Mesa Homicide Update 2: Identities of Suspect and Victim #GVCopBeat

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imageThe Grand Junction Police Department has arrested 25-yeard-old Lee McDonald of Grand Junction on 1st degree murder charges in connection with this morning’s stabbing in Orchard Mesa.  He has been booked into the Mesa County jail. His booking photo is not being released at this time as the investigation continues.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office released the following information this afternoon as well:

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office has completed its examination regarding the death of Nicholas Alan Potts, a 27 year-old male resident of North Miami, FL.  Mr. Potts was the gentleman involved in the incident on Santa Clara Ave. in Orchard Mesa early this morning.  The cause of death is multiple stab wounds and the manner of death is homicide.


Previously released information about this case can be found here.

Local Law Enforcement Assists FBI With Investigation of Suspected Human Trafficking #GVCopBeat

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IMG_5602The Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff’s Office are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate massage parlors in the City of Grand Junction and surrounding Mesa County.  On Tuesday, June 17 the FBI, with assistance from the GJPD and MCSO, executed federal search and seizure warrants as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The investigation centers on massage parlors where prostitution and possible human trafficking is suspected of taking place.  Part of the ongoing investigation will be to determine where the prostitutes are coming from, and whether these women are unwillingly being trafficked from city to city.

The four locations involved in today’s operation are:DSC03065

  • New Hong Kong Spa (333 North Ave. Unit #18)
  • Oriental Spa (2925 North Ave.)
  • Tokyo Spa (2912 North Ave. #2)
  • Balanced Healing Massage and Spa (3198 F Rd. Suite 106)



The investigation, which is led by the FBI, also includes the following agencies:

  • Grand Junction Police Department
  • Mesa County Sheriff’s Office
  • Western Colorado Drug Task Force
  • Colorado Trafficking and Organized Crime Coalition
  • Colorado State Patrol
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Internal Revenue Service

The investigation is continuing and we’ll provide more information as it becomes available.

Arrest Made in Case Involving the Marijuana Butane Hash Oil Explosion at the Monument Inn on March 9, 2014 #GVCopBeat

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MATTHEWTODDSIMMSBookingPhoto 051314The Grand Junction Police Department investigation of the marijuana butane hash oil explosion at the Monument Inn last March has led to an arrest warrant for 30-year-old Matthew Todd Simms.  The charges included in the warrant are manufacturing marijuana concentrate, 4th degree arson by placing property of another in danger of damage and other in danger of serious injury, and reckless endangerment.  A Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrested Simms on that warrant and booked him into jail on May 11.

Simms is suspected of trying to manufacture marijuana concentrate (hash oil) in a hotel room at the Monument Inn using a process involving butane.  The butane ignited, causing an explosion that burned Simms.  Several other people were also in the room at the time.

Previously release information about this case.

GJ City Council Proclaims May 11-17 Police Week- Highlights Upcoming Community Events #GVCopBeat #gjco

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imageTonight Police Chief John Camper thanked the Grand Junction City Council for their support of local law enforcement after the Council declared May 11-17, 2014 as Police Week in the City of Grand Junction.  Councilmember Barbara Traylor Smith read the proclamation, which recognized the 111 men and women in law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty nationwide in 2013.

There are several community events planned during Police Week and we would love to see you there.  Get more information here.

Come Run, Walk, or Ride With Us As We Support Special Olympics Colorado #GVCopBeat @SpecOlympicsCO

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The Flame of Hope

This is a very busy time of year for community events in Mesa County that also involve your local law enforcement agencies.  One that has a long history in our community is the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), which raises money and awareness for Special Olympics Colorado.

The name LETR is somewhat of a misnomer, because we do much more than running.  In fact, we are hoping you will join us on May 24 as we run, walk, and ride with the Special Olympics torch in the name of our fantastic local athletes.  Here’s a quick video of what those events looked like last year:

There are two separate events that day, and we encourage you to participate in any way you can.  The first is the Mesa County LETR Torch Run/Walk 5K.  This fun event takes of from the Botanical Gardens at 10am (registration starts the day of  the event at 8:30am).  The cost is $30 and all participants receive a T-shirt.  Contact Deputy Chad Williams for more information at 970-986-1187.  Download the flyer here.

Later that day is the annual Flame of Hope motorcycle escort, where Western Slope motorcycle riders meet Front Range riders in Glenwood Springs to escort the Special Olympics torch to Grand Junction.  This is in preparation for the Special Olympics Summer Games that take place here in Grand Junction at the end of the month.  Western Slope riders will gather at the Aspen Valley Harley Davidson store in Glenwood Springs to receive the torch, and depart for Grand Junction at 2pm.  The ride ends at the Grand Junction Harley Davidson store, where participants will be treated to a BBQ dinner and a chance to win prizes totaling $900.  Riders will also receive T-shirts.  The cost of this event is $30 per rider and $20 for each passenger.  Register online in advance at . For more information contact Capt. Don Hendricks at 970-244-3907.  Download the flyer here.

These events truly are fun for those who participate, both for law enforcement and the community in general.  The athletes we support have a way of finding a special spot in your heart.  We hope to see you on May 24.


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GJPD Sergeant Recognized by CMU for His Dedicated Service to the Campus Community #GVCopBeat

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IMG_4863Yesterday, CMU President Tim Foster presented Sgt. Pua Utu with a plaque, recognizing his outstanding service to the CMU campus community.  For the last five years, Sgt. Utu has led our CMU Campus Police Unit, which provides law enforcement services to the university and works tirelessly to keep the men and women there safe.  During his time in this assignment Sgt. Utu has worked hard to foster good working relationships with both the CMU students and the staff and faculty, which is essential when it comes to preventing crime as well as dealing with incidents when they happen.

We too are very proud of the service Sgt. Utu has provided, and thank CMU for its recognition of his dedicated service.




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Crime of the Week for May 1, 2014 #MCCrimeStoppers #GVCopBeat

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Crime Stoppers Bulletin for May 1, 2014

This week Crime Stoppers of Mesa County needs your help in locating the suspects involved in a theft and fraud.

Between Tuesday, January 28th and Monday February 3rd, unknown subjects used a lost credit card and made multiple unlawful transactions, in excess of $8,000. The subjects were last seen in a newer silver Dodge car, possibly an Avenger with partial license plate of 543-???  The surveillance photos of the male subjects can be viewed at

If you know the identity or location 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

GJPD # 14-7086

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Grand Junction Police Officers Arrest “America’s Most Wanted” Fugitive #GVCopBeat

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Luke Artinger
Luke Artinger

This week the Grand Junction Police Department was notified that a man arrested by two of our officers had been featured on the television show “America’s Most Wanted”.  The man had been on the run from California authorities since 2010.  Here is the news release from the Huntington Beach Police Department in California:

Release Date: March 6, 2014   Prepared by: Captain W. Stuart (Huntington Beach PD)
Type of Incident: Capture of Most Wanted Fugitive
Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
Date/Time of Occurrence: July 3, 2010 Case Number: 2010-011111
Luke Austin Artinger, who has been a fugitive since July 3, 2010 and was wanted in connection with Parole Violations and Attempted Murder has been arrested in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Artinger was featured in several previous newspaper articles and was featured on the television show “America’s Most Wanted”.
Artinger is accused of violating his parole from a previous conviction on vandalism and battery charges involving the stabbing of a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy who attempted to detain him after catching him tagging in February, 2007.
Artinger pleaded guilty to those charges in January, 2009 and was sentenced to five years in state prison but was released on parole in February, 2010. He is accused of stabbing a former friend in the head and neck on July 3, 2010. He fled the scene and has not been located since.
Artinger was arrested by Grand Junction, Colorado police officers responding to a complaint of a man possibly attempting to sell drugs. After being contacted by two uniformed officers and some conversation occurring, Artinger fled on foot but was eventually detained by officers. Artinger provided an assumed name and other identifying information and was subsequently booked on drug trafficking charges. His true identity was later discovered and confirmed through finger prints. His Parole Warrant and the warrant for Attempted Murder from Huntington Beach have been added to his charges. He is currently awaiting prosecution on the drug trafficking charges in the Mesa County, Colorado County Jail. His ultimate extradition to California will be determined at some later date.
The Huntington Beach Police Department would like to thank the many organizations and individuals who contributed to the capture of a dangerous, violent offender.

The two GJPD officers who arrested Artinger responded to a tip they received that a man was trying to sell drugs to students on the CMU campus.  The officers found the man, who said he was not a student, and began talking with him.  One of the officers spotted a backpack near the man, however the man said it did not belong to him.  When the officer opened it to try to find out who it belonged to he found what he believed to be illegal drugs inside.  The officers began to arrest the man, however he took off running.  The officers chased him on foot, and a CMU student who saw the chase tackled the man.  The officers then took him into custody without further incident.  The man was booked into jail under the name he had provided to officers and that was also found on items inside the backpack.

As noted in the news release above, the man’s fingerprints later came back as a positive match with the suspect wanted out of California.

GJPD Arrests Man for Multiple Vehicle Break-ins. More Than a Dozen Possible Victims Identified So Far #GVCopBeat

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GARRETTAUSTINPHOTO022714The Grand Junction Police Department has arrested a man who is believed to have broken into more than a dozen vehicles near the CMU campus overnight.

Just before 5:30 this morning officers were dispatched to a parking lot in the 900 block of Glenwood Ave. for a man who was seen trying the door handles of cars.  The man would duck down when cars passed by him.

Officers found a man matching the suspect’s description sitting the driver seat of a car with the driver side door open.  He appeared to be reaching toward the glove box at the time.  When officers spoke with him they noticed his pockets were overly full and he had a backpack with a drill and tool box sticking out it.  The man, later identified as 22-year-old Garrett Austin, initially said he owned the car, but did not know who the car was registered to.  He later told officers he did not know whose vehicle he had been in, and that he did not have permission to be in it.

Officers arrested Austin on charges of felony 1st degree criminal trespass of autos and misdemeanor theft.  He also received a possession of a dangerous or illegal weapon charge because officers found a butterfly knife in his pants pocket when they searched him.

Officers have continued investigating throughout this morning, and at this point have identified 16 possible victims related to this case.  There is a possibility that there are other victims who haven’t yet realized their cars were also broken into.  If you believe you are a victim in this case you can call 970-242-6707 to report it.

GJPD Investigating Possible Scam Involving Baby Item Donations #GVCopBeat

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The Grand Junction Police Department has received several complaints from residents who believe they have been scammed by a local woman out of more than a thousand dollars worth of baby items.  The victims say they responded to a Facebook post that was asking for donations of baby items for newborn triplets.  At this point in our investigation we believe the woman asking for the donations was using a fake name on Facebook.

Our investigators have spoken with the woman we believe was asking for the donations and have collected items related to donations she received.  She has not been charged with any crimes at this point, however we are still investigating.  We advise people to stop donating to this person until we have concluded our investigation.

If you have already donated items and believe you are a victim of a scam, or if you have any further information about this case, please call 970-242-6707 to report it.