Police: Complicated case led to Waldo looters

MATT STEINER Updated: November 30, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: November 30, 2012

A case that involved stolen DVDs, DNA identification and a plea bargain led to three burglary arrests, which police say should close two looting cases in an evacuated neighborhood during the Waldo Canyon fire.

An arrest affidavit outlined the tale that put Cameron Moore, 20, in jail in August and spurred the arrests of 31-year-old David Town and 19-year-old Alexis Mendez on
Tuesday.

The three were linked to burglaries of two evacuated houses June 26, the day the Waldo Canyon blaze roared over the mountains west of Colorado Springs and destroyed about 350 homes.

Ken Patterson lives at one of the burglarized homes and left his house shortly after 6 p.m. June 26 after Mayor Steve Bach ordered mandatory evacuations for most of northwestern Colorado Springs.

“I just had this feeling something was going to happen,” said Patterson Friday at his house on Mule Deer Drive near Ute Valley Park. “I had that feeling. I knew there wouldn’t be any security at all.”

According to Patterson and the affidavit, burglars waited for the neighborhood to clear out before breaking into Patterson’s home.

Several DVDs, Denver Broncos collectibles, hunting knives and a ceremonial sword were taken.  Police say the thieves even took a bottle of water out of Patterson’s refrigerator took a drink, leaving DNA traces that would eventually lead to a Cameron Moore’s confession.

Officers got a break in the case when they found some of the loot at David Town’s apartment and more at Entertainmart on Academy Boulevard near The Citadel mall, the court document said.

Moore had sold the DVDs to the store and eventually told police that he and his former roommate Alexis Mendez traded the rest of the collectibles for marijuana from Town. Also found at Town’s apartment was a “a small, older revolver” that matched the description of a gun stolen June 26 from a house on Hill Circle in the Kissing Camels area.

According to the affidavit, Moore admitted to selling the stolen items, but denied involvement in the burglaries. He said Mendez had asked him to sell the loot.

Town also denied involvement, telling detectives that “Mr. Mendez and Mr. Moore had brought those items to his residence,” the affidavit said.

After police confronted Moore with a DNA test that tied him to the bottle found at Patterson’s house, he started talking, court papers said. Officers were also able to trace cell phone calls made by Town and Moore on June 26 to the area near the burglarized homes, court papers said.

Moore described the burglaries the three men allegedly committed the night the fire roared into Colorado Springs and a pleaded guilty to a felony burglary charge, police said.

Moore is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14 in 4th Judicial District Court. Mendez was already in the El Paso County jail awaiting a March trial on unrelated charges when he was arrested in the burglaries. Town was arrested in the case, but county records didn’t show him at the jail Friday.

Patterson said he was a bit shocked to see all his lights had been left on when he was allowed to return home June 29. He was even more shocked when he unlocked the front door.
“I immediately noticed everything had been rifled through,” Patterson.

He said he knew burglars had been there, but was scared the might still be in the house.
“I went around and checked of the house,” he said.

Some items were missing, but to his surprise, Patterson found a basement full of Broncos collectibles still where he’d left them.

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