Six individuals arrested this summer on suspicion of repeatedly trespassing a residential property east of Cortez and stealing minibikes, power tools, a snowmobile and farm equipment are in different stages of court proceedings and plea agreements.
A Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office investigation led to the arrests of Tyler K. Calhoun, 25, Austin T. Depenbrock, 23, Daren M. Hassell, 22, Jessica R. Loomis, 37, and Darrell W. Perez, 39, in June through August 2018. A sixth suspect, Christopher A. Gonzales, 21, was already in custody at Montezuma County Detention Center on a separate robbery charge when he was served a warrant for the burglary.
Several of the suspects have reached plea agreements in the 22nd Judicial District. Other suspects have unrelated pending legal cases, and at least two have allegedly reoffended since the burglary incidents. Much of the stolen property is believed to have been sold to pawn shops or traded for heroin, likely for personal use, according to an Sheriff’s Office detective.
Repeated burglariesOn June 11, MCSO responded to a report of theft on the 20000 block of U.S. Highway 160. A 58-year-old property owner informed a deputy that several items were missing from a metal shed, a wood shed, a silo and a cellar, all of which were unlocked and undamaged.
The stolen items were valued at $7,720. The items include a $500 1970 Honda 70 minibike, two $800 1970s Honda Z50 minibikes, an $800 1970s Arctic Cat snowmobile, a $400 Craftsman air compressor, a $500 paint sprayer, a $150 upright toolbox, a $150 jigsaw, two $400 oxygen tanks, four $800 water pumps with gas engines, a $100 table saw, a $150 circular saw, a $75 beer brewing kit, a $100 gas turkey fryer and a $100 propane heater.
The burglaries are believed to have occurred June 2-11.
Det. Ricky Shadden said his investigation led him to Cortez Cash Pawn and Trade, where the property owner identified several stolen items and receipts traced to Calhoun, Loomis, Depenbrock, Perez, Gonzales and Hassell.
Calhoun, interviewed on July 20, revealed that he discovered the unsecured property and several times took Loomis, Depenbrock, Perez, Gonzales and Hassell to steal from the residence for two weeks. A truck and trailer were used during one trip, according to the incident report.
“The guy that found the property with all the unlocked doors ... and they all started taking stuff,” Shadden said.
Shadden interviewed Gonzales on June 26 and Aug. 6. According to the incident report, Gonzales stated Loomis stole from the property once, Calhoun stole items daily for one or two weeks, Depenbrock went once or twice, Perez went once with his red Ford F-150 and Hassell went once with his red Subaru.
“It was over the next several weeks that they went back, and then they took different people – that’s how it got to be so many people,” Shadden said. “They didn’t all go at the same time.”
The Sheriff’s Office then searched several properties related to the suspects and found stolen property and heroin kits, syringes and drug paraphernalia. According to the Sheriff’s Office report, Gonzales told the detective he kept some of the stolen property at his “safe house” on County Road H, and Loomis had the snowmobile and possibly several minibikes at her residence.
On June 25, a search warrant was served for a residence associated with Depenbrock and Gonzales. A search found two Honda minibikes, bike parts, other stolen items and syringes and drug paraphernalia. Two antique firearms were found under a bed, which Gonzales said were payment for a heroin sale.
On Aug. 3, detectives attempted to contact Calhoun at a home, but the homeowner said the home was up for sale and no one had permission to be inside. Deputies knocked on the door, and Calhoun exited and was arrested. Utah residents Reese Gordon Laws and Vanessa Alicia Montano also were in the home, and a search produced heroin kits and syringes associated with all three, the report said.
Laws and Montano are suspected drug traffickers but were not suspected in the burglaries, Shadden said.
Burglary suspects Hassell, Calhoun, Gonzales and Depenbrock are believed to be heroin users, but it was not confirmed that Loomis or Perez were involved in narcotics, Shadden said.
“Most of the property that was exchanged other than to the pawn shop was for the trade of illegal narcotics, mostly heroin,” Shadden said.
Plea agreements and unrelated offensesCalhoun reached a plea agreement on Sept. 4. He pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary, a Class 4 felony, and theft between $750 and $2,000. He is set for sentencing on Dec. 18.
Depenbrock reached a plea agreement on Nov. 7, which resolved both of his burglary cases and a drug paraphernalia arrest on Aug. 20. He tentatively agreed to plead guilty to second-degree burglary, a Class 3 felony, and theft with a 24-month deferred judgment. He will be arraigned in 22nd Judicial District Court on Dec. 4.
In an unrelated case, Depenbrock on Nov. 28 missed a court appearance for a 2017 traffic violation. Montezuma County Judge Jennilynn Lawrence issued a warrant for his arrest and a $500 personal recognizance bond.
Hassell faces several cases. He was arrested for the burglaries on Aug. 7 and posted bond the following day. He was then arrested on Aug. 19 for possession of drug paraphernalia, violating bail bond conditions and careless driving while on a bike or electric bike and posted bond the next day. He also was arrested on Sept. 13 for a case of theft between $5,000 and $20,000, theft between $750 to $2,000 and trespassing a vehicle. He has remained in custody at the Montezuma County Detention Center since the Sept. 13 arrest.
On Nov. 26, Hassell pleaded guilty to two counts of theft between $750 to $2,000 and one count of trespassing a dwelling, a Class 5 felony. He is scheduled for a plea hearing and sentencing on Jan. 15.
Loomis has been charged with second-degree burglary, a Class 3 felony, theft between $5,000 and $20,000, a Class 5 felony, and first-degree trespassing, a Class 5 felony. She posted bond on Aug. 10 and will consider a plea agreement in 22nd Judicial District Court on Dec. 6.
Gonzales was in custody at Montezuma County Detention Center for robbery with a deadly weapon, a Class 3 felony, and menacing, a Class 5 felony, when a deputy on Aug. 3 served him a warrant for his part in the serial burglaries.
Gonzales entered a guilty plea in both cases on Sept. 6. He pleaded guilty to first-degree trespassing, felony menacing and false imprisonment. The district attorney dismissed all other charges. On Nov. 15, 22nd Judicial District Chief Judge Douglas Walker sentenced Gonzales to two years at Intervention Community Corrections Services in Montrose.
Playing with the bail bondsmanPerez was arrested for his part in the burglaries on Aug. 14. He was charged with second-degree burglary, a Class 3 felony, first-degree trespass, a Class 5 felony, and theft between $5,000 to $20,000, a Class 5 felony. He also has three pending municipal cases against him.
He posted bond on Aug. 24 but failed to appear in court on Sept. 19 and was arrested on a warrant on Oct. 5. Local bail bondsman Clint Simmons posted a $2,500 surety bond for Perez on Oct. 30, but his freedom didn’t last long.
Simmons told The Journal that Perez and his friend, Emily Frizzell, led him to believe they had money in a joint account at the Wells Fargo in Durango. Simmons said he drove Perez to the bank after his release from jail so he could be paid.
“I know he’s a shady little (expletive) so I made him ride with me,” Simmons said.
Simmons said he had a partner posted up outside the bank to make sure there were no slip-ups. He said they were in the bank for about an hour and after a while, he could tell something was up.
“It became real apparent that they weren’t going to get me any money, and I told him when I bonded him, ‘Hey, if this doesn’t work out I’m going to bring you back and put you in jail,’” Simmons said.
Without his payment, the bail bondsman then drove Perez back to the Montezuma County Detention Center and revoked the bond.
According to an Sheriff’s Office report, Perez was booked back into jail in a cell with three other people. Another inmate reported that Perez was consuming meth in his cell. A strip search found a small black bag of meth in his clothing.
Bringing drugs back into jail left Perez with three additional felony counts.
Perez now has a $5,000 cash only bond and he remains in custody at the Montezuma County Detention Center. He is scheduled for a plea hearing and arraignment on Dec. 6.