As the wildfires have raged across the state, officials have said that burglary and theft of evacuated homes has become a major concern.
In fact, our Castle Rock criminal defense lawyers understand that two individuals are now facing charges for breaking into at least one home in the Waldo Canyon fire evacuation zone.
According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, they were conducting a prior investigation regarding identity theft which the two were allegedly involved in. That led them to the pair, who were additionally charged with burglary and theft of an evacuated home in Colorado Springs.
Additionally, at the time of their arrests, police said they were in possession of methamphetamine.
The charges against them include:
Possession of a controlled substance, theft, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, theft by receiving and second-degree burglary.
The pair are 38 and 36-years-old.
It’s not clear from reports exactly what these individuals allegedly stole, but that will have a role in determining the severity of the potential sentences against them.
Law enforcement are reportedly trying to determine whether the pair were involved in thefts at other homes in the area as well.
According to Colorado Revised Statute 18-4-401, theft is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property is less than $500. It’s a Class 1 misdemeanor if it’s over $500 but less than $1,000. Anything over $1,000 becomes a felony – a Class 4 felony if it’s less than $20,000 and a Class 3 felony if it’s above $20,000.
The fact that these acts were allegedly carried out in the midst of a natural disaster would be considered an aggravating circumstance, which could net them additional jail time if convicted.
A Class 4 felony in Colorado is punishable by a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of six years. A Class 3 felony is punishable by a minimum of four years in prison and a maximum of 12 years.
These are not the kind of charges you want to have handled by a public defender. Allegations such as these require an experienced defense attorney who is committed to fighting for the best possible outcome in your case, given the circumstances.