Using stolen cars to ram through security gates. Stealing property. Following people into apartment complex garages in order to get in and steal cars.
The Denver District Attorney's Office says these tactics were just a sampling of the modus operandi for a Denver-based car theft ring.
Nineteen people have been indicted by a grand jury for their connection to a motor vehicle theft ring prosecutors say targeted parking garages next to high-rise apartment buildings in downtown Denver.
A Denver Grand Jury returned the 99-count indictment in connection with an alleged criminal enterprise involving over 90 victims and hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen motor vehicles and other property, destruction of property, identity theft and other criminal activity.
According to the DA's office, alleged ringleaders Pablo Bleacher, Noah Ferris, Jordan Goetsch and Jory Ingram led various members to steal more than $600,000 in vehicles, $40,000 in property, and cause more than $30,000 in damages during their spree, which the DA says lasted between Nov. 2015 and July 2017.
The indictment alleges that members of the enterprise burglarized secured residential parking garages attached to apartment, condominium and business complexes located primarily in the Downtown Denver, LoDo, LoHi, and RiNo areas of Denver.
The DA's office says the group would use stolen cars to burglarize these garages.
Enterprise members and associates circumvented building and garage security measures by several methods, including, following a tenant’s vehicle into the garage, either on foot or in a stolen motor vehicle; breaking entry into residential complexes by forcing open lobby doors; ramming stolen cars through garage entry and exit control arms and gates; operating stolen garage door openers; and using public entrances during regular business hours, according to the indictment.
Once inside a secured garage area, the indictment alleges, enterprise members rapidly went through the garage and checked vehicle doors to steal property from unlocked vehicles.
If a key was located inside the vehicle, the enterprise members would then steal that vehicle. This process was known and described by enterprise members as “car-hopping.”
The indictment is the result of a months-long investigation and collaboration by and between the Denver District Attorney’s Economic Crime Unit, Denver Police Department, and the Metro Auto Theft Task Force.
Bleacher, Ferris, Goetsch, Ingram and Rodgers are each charged with one count of violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act-COCCA, a felony.
Those five and the remaining 14 co-defendants are additionally variously charged with other felonies, including aggravated motor vehicle theft, second-degree burglary, and identity theft.
The DA's office says over this nearly two-year period, the group committed garage burglaries, motor vehicle trespasses and stole identities.
The indictment further states that members of the enterprise shared money, proceeds from the sale of stolen property, stolen property, stolen identification documents, stolen financial transaction devices, stolen automobiles, transportation, controlled substances, food, clothing, and living quarters to accomplish the enterprise’s goals.
Bleacher, Ferris, Goetsch, Ingram, and Rodgers are in custody, according to the Denver DA.
Court hearings have not yet been scheduled.