January 18, 2012
Two men nicknamed Worm and Crack Head are suspected of leading a drug and identify-theft ring affecting 230 people across six states, Colorado Springs police said Wednesday.
Lawrence “Worm” Purtzer, 30, and Cody “Crack Head” Harders, 21, are being held in the El Paso County jail on suspicion of multiple felonies in connection with the ring, which has been under investigation for a year, police said.
The Colorado Springs-based group is suspected of using identity theft, check fraud, criminal impersonation and forgery to finance its alleged operation, which netted more than $250,000, police said.
Purtzer, one of the ring’s alleged leaders, is being held in the El Paso County jail in lieu of $155,000 bail. Harders bail has been set at $10,000.
Investigators have opened 50 cases against more than 25 people who have been identified as members of the ring, police said.
On Wednesday, officers announced the arrests of three other people: Kevin Brunt, 24, Shawna Patt, 23, and Paige Zorens, 21.
In an interview with police, Brunt admitted to forging checks to support his methamphetamine addiction, which cost him about $200 a day, according to an arrest affidavit.