GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – Two men charged with breaking into cars at trailheads and other parking areas in Mesa County are now behind bars.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said Armando Roman Vasquez, 28, and Piero Boris Moras, 30, were held at the Mesa County Detention Center, with the two men facing more than a dozen of charges.
“We actually caught them smashing them into vehicles themselves,” Mesa County Sheriff’s Investigator Mykel Davidson said. “We ended up looking back through their history and their history shows that they did this on a national scale.”
Investigators say Vasquez and Moras are linked to break-ins at the Independence Monument Trailhead, Liberty Cap Trailhead, Coke Ovens Overlook, and Chipeta Golf Course.
“It looks like it could target all kinds of handbags primarily, especially wallets,” Davidson said. “What they’re looking for are credit cards, debit cards, etc. from vehicles, not necessarily anything to do with electronics or any of your expensive items.”
Davidson said the two men would take the credit and debit cards to various stores around town and buy gift cards with them. What the couple are accused of doing in other states. Here in Mesa County, Davidson said their main targets are the starting points.
“One of our main attractions here will be our parks,” Davidson said. “They understand that. So they know that as soon as people get out of their car and leave all their valuables behind, they come in and 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 parks and trails, but people are urged to be careful of their cars and what they could potentially leave inside. These are the preventive measures recommended by Davidson to prevent your car from becoming a target.
“Just make sure your doors are secure, make sure they’re nice and locked,” Davidson said. “Make sure all your windows are rolled up and make sure all your valuables are put away.”
Davidson recommends people take their valuables with them when they hit the trails, but if you can, just leave your valuables at home. If you’re on your way back to your car after a trail and find your car has been broken into, Davidson recommends calling 911 or non-emergency dispatch.
“We’ll get a deputy here as soon as possible to deal with it,” Davidson said. “We are asking for the investigative side of things, try not to search your vehicle too much until law enforcement is there. Because we can still collect DNA, we can collect fingerprints and things like that, which will actually lead to prosecutions.
Davidson further said that in some cases he investigated, thieves took extreme measures to break into cars.
“They’ll actually reach underneath and disable whatever type of alarm system the car might potentially have,” Davidson said. “So it’s really important to document everything to the best of your ability in terms of any kind of obvious damage or anything like that in case it happens to you.”
If you’re on a trail and see anything suspicious, Davidson said to contact the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
Vasquez and Sanchez face charges of:
Two flight leaders in a motor vehicle
Two counts of first-degree criminal trespass
Two counts of second-degree criminal trespassing on a motor vehicle
Fraud ID Theft Possess information without permission
Two counts of fraudulent identity theft with intent to defraud
Two counts of fraudulent use of identity theft to obtain
Two flight counts from $750 to $2,000
Two flight counts from $300 to $750
Theft of $1,000 to $2,000 from a motor vehicle
Criminal mischief – less than $300
Unauthorized use of the financial transaction device
Identity Theft-Possession with Intent to Use
Moras Sanchez also had an outstanding warrant from Alabama.
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