Trailhead break-in suspects behind bars

Monument Canyon Trailhead.
Monument Canyon Trailhead.(KKCO)
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 4:29 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Two men accused of breaking into cars at trailheads and other parking areas in Mesa County are now behind bars.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s office said 28-year-old Armando Roman Vasquez and 30-year-old Piero Boris Moras have been booked in the Mesa County Detention Center, both men facing more than a dozen charges.

“We actually caught breaking them into vehicles themselves,” said Mesa County Sheriff investigator Mykel Davidson. “We ended up looking back through their history, and their history shows that they’ve been doing this nationwide.”

According to investigators, Vasquez and Moras are tied to break-ins at the Independence Monument trailhead, the Liberty Cap trailhead, Coke Ovens overlook, and the Chipeta Golf Course.

“It seems like there might mainly targeting any sort of purses, specifically wallets,” said Davidson. “What they’re looking for is the actual credit cards, debit cards, and so on and so forth to come from the vehicles, not necessarily anything to do with electronics or any of your actual expensive items.”

Davidson said the two men would take the credit and debit cards to various stores in town and buy gift cards with them, which is something the pair is accused of doing in other states. Here in Mesa County, Davidson said their primary targets are trailheads.

“One of our main attractions here is going to be our parks,” said Davidson. “They understand that. So they know that as soon as the folks leave their cars and leave all their valuable valuables behind, they’ll come in and they rummage through things. They see what they can grab if anything, and then they go about their business.”

Davidson said the sheriff’s office wants people to get out and enjoy all the parks and trails, but people are urged to be mindful about their cars and what they could potentially be left inside. It’s the preventative measures Davidson recommends help keep your car from becoming a target.

“Just make sure your doors are secure; make sure they’re nice and locked,” said Davidson. “Make sure all your windows are rolled up, and make sure all your valuables are tucked away.”

Davidson recommends that folks take their valuables with them as they head out on the trails, but if you can, just leave your valuables at home altogether. If you are on your way back to your car from a trail and find your car has been broken into, Davidson recommends calling 911 or the non-emergency dispatch.

“We’ll get a deputy out here as soon as we possibly can to process it,” said Davidson. “We ask for the investigation side of things. Try not to rummage through your vehicle too terribly much until law enforcement is here. Because we can still collect DNA, we can collect fingerprints and things like that, that will actually lead to prosecution.”

Davidson further said that in some cases he’s investigated, the thieves have gone to extreme measures to break into cars.

“They actually will reach underneath and disable any sort of alarm system that the car might potentially have,” said Davidson. “So it’s really important to document everything to your best ability when it comes to any sort of obvious damage or anything like that in the event this happens to you.”

If you are on a trail and see something suspicious, Davidson said to contact the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

Both Vasquez and Sanchez face the following charges:

  • Two counts of Theft from Motor Vehicle
  • Two counts of First Degree Criminal Trespass of Auto
  • Two Counts of Second Degree Criminal Trespass of Motor vehicle
  • Fraud ID Theft Possesses Info without permission
  • Two counts of Fraud ID Theft with intent to Defraud
  • Two counts of Fraud ID Theft Uses to Obtain
  • Two counts of Theft of $750-$2,000
  • Two counts of Theft of $300-$750
  • Theft of $1,000-$2000 from Motor vehicle
  • Theft $2,000-$5,000
  • Criminal Mischief-less than $300
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Unauthorized use of Financial Transaction Device
  • ID Theft-Possession with intent to use
  • Criminal Attempt

Moras Sanchez also had an outstanding warrant from Alabama.

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