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Denver metro averaging nearly 100 stolen cars a day, according to report

C-MATT says they are arresting the same people and putting them in jail only to then re-arrest them.

COLORADO, USA — The Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Taskforce (C-MATT) is the agency in charge of tracking vehicle thefts in multiple counties across the Denver metro area.

According to C-MATT, motor vehicle thefts increased 24% in the first quarter of 2022 when compared to the first quarter of 2021.

On average, nearly 100 vehicles are stolen each day in the Denver metro area, according to C-MATT.

“They call it the cycle of violence, it's the cycle of auto theft,” said Mike Greenwell with C-MATT.

Denver has been a hot spot for stolen vehicles since January 2022. There have been 3,290 vehicles stolen, according to C-MATT. That is the most in the metro.

Credit: Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force
Vehicle theft increases between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2022.

Arapahoe County is second with 1,931 stolen vehicles in the same timeframe, C-MATT reports. Adams County was third with 1,685 stolen vehicles, followed by Jefferson County with 1,260, according to data from C-MATT.

So, why are we seeing such a large increase in stolen vehicles? 

"We're arresting the same people and putting them in jail and then re-arrest them," Greenwell said.

RELATED: Auto thefts, break-ins at DIA up compared to previous years

Law enforcement in Colorado filed nearly 5,500 cases of felony motor vehicle theft in 2021, C-MATT said. That's up from 4,600 cases filed in 2020, according to C-MATT data.

Credit: Colorado Metro Auto Theft Task Force

Felony charges usually mean jail time, but Greenwell said in some cases, that is not happening.

"There is a lot more plea bargaining going on, motor vehicle theft being that charge," Greenwell said.

C-MATT does not have data on the number of motor vehicle theft arrests that lead to convictions. The task force does say that there is a trend. Repeat, violent, and first time offenders of auto theft are getting a slap on the wrist.

With Colorado courts backlogged from the pandemic and a shortage space in jails and prisons, C-MATT says some cases are pled down to a fine, probation or dismissed all together. 

"Taxpayers are paying a lot of money to arrest these people, and so we put them in jail," Greenwell said. "And then they are released." 

RELATED: Car thefts in Denver metro area jump again in first 3 months of 2022

Credit: C-MATT



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