Colorado News Roundup: State auto thefts rise nearly 30 percent in 2015
DENVER — The number of vehicle thefts in Colorado last year grew by nearly 30 percent from the previous year.
The Denver Post reports that just under 15,000 cars were reported stolen across the state in 2015. The spike comes after more than a decade of declines in auto thefts from 2000 to 2011. Colorado Bureau of Investigation statistics show thefts then climbed slightly before 2015.
The bureau’s report ranked Denver as the top spot for thefts last year, with the city making up about one-quarter of the state’s stolen vehicles. Colorado Springs came second, followed by Aurora, Pueblo, Lakewood, Adams County and Thornton.
The most frequently targeted vehicles are the Honda Civic and Honda Accord.
Probation extended for southern Colorado DA Frank Ruybalid
PUEBLO, Colo. — A southern Colorado district attorney who has admitted to mishandling more than a dozen criminal cases will remain on close supervision for another year but won’t have his law license suspended.
The Pueblo Chieftain reports that Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation had recommended that Frank Ruybalid, the top prosecutor for Las Animas and Huerfano counties, be suspended from practicing law for six months. However, the court’s presiding disciplinary judge, William Lucero, ruled Wednesday that there’s no evidence that he violated professional conduct rules during his current probation term.
Lucero said that some of the office’s poor performance is due to understaffing. However, he extended probation for another year and said he can’t condone that Ruybalid hasn’t implemented more of the recommendations for improving his office.
Arrest made in Utah mother’s unsolved death after 46 years
SALT LAKE CITY — More than four decades after a young girl found her mother stabbed to death in eastern Utah, police say they’ve arrested the man responsible in Colorado.
Prosecutors said Thursday they’ve filed rape and murder charges against 76-year-old Thomas Edward Egley of Rocky Ford, Colorado.
Charging documents say he was an original suspect in the 1970 death of 23-year-old Loretta Jones, but a judge found there wasn’t enough evidence against him and dismissed the case.
It was reopened at the urging of her daughter, who was determined not to let her mother’s case be forgotten.
This time, police say Egley has acknowledged his role in the slaying. Authorities are planning to extradite him from Colorado.
No attorney was immediately listed for Egley in court records, and he did not have a publicly listed phone number.
Colorado man gets Nebraska prison time for hotel arson
LINCOLN, Neb. — A Colorado man has been sent to prison for setting fire to a hotel room in the Nebraska capital of Lincoln.
Online court records show 34-year-old Joshua Berney, of Thornton, Colorado, was sentenced Wednesday to four to eight years. He’d pleaded no contest to felony arson after prosecutors dropped a charge of criminal mischief.
Authorities say he reported the blaze from his room at the Holiday Inn Express just before 4 a.m. on April 6 last year. Fire sprinklers helped contain the flames to just his room on the second floor, but smoke escaped into hallways.
Thirty-five hotel guests were evacuated during the fire. Berney was taken to a hospital to be checked for smoke inhalation.
Sex offenders sue Englewood over zoning rules
DENVER — Three convicted sex offenders have sued the Denver suburb of Englewood over allegations that they’re being forced out by city zoning laws.
The Denver Post reports the lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday says Brian Brockhausen, Allen Toner and Larry Cook have been warned they will receive notices to leave the city in 30 days or face arrest.
Englewood laws restrict how close sex offenders can live near schools, day care centers and other facilities for children.
According to the lawsuit, the restrictions mean sex offenders are only allowed to live in 55 parcels out of more than 11,300 parcels in the city.
The three men are asking the court to invalidate Englewood’s 2006 Sex Offender Residency Restriction.
City Manager Eric Keck declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
Boulder Brands’ EVOL plant to move to Arkansas
BOULDER, Colo. — The new owner of Boulder Brands is moving the company’s frozen food manufacturing to Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Daily Camera reports that Pinnacle Foods purchased the brand for $975 million in November. According to a statement from the New Jersey-based company, EVOL frozen food has outgrown its existing Boulder facilities but the organization’s Fayetteville structure can accommodate its growth.
The EVOL plant employs 85 people and is expected to close in early 2017. Pinnacle says workers will be given at least 60 days’ notice before the final closure.
Pinnacle executive vice president and chief supply chain officer Mike Wittman says the decision will “ensure the long-term success of the EVOL brand.” He says he is thankful for the employee at the plant contributing to the business.
Crop Duster plane crashes near Alamosa
ALAMOSA, Colo. — A crop duster small plane has crashed near Alamosa.
There was no word on the condition of the pilot.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer says the accident occurred about 11 a.m. Friday in Alamosa County.
The Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office said no more information was available.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
Southwestern Colorado officials search for abandoned llamas
DURANGO, Colo. — Hikers are being asked to keep an eye out for two llamas who are loose after being left behind in the Weminuche (wehm-ih-NOO’-chee) Wilderness in southwestern Colorado.
The Durango Herald reports that Dawson and Chai had to stay behind when their handlers were rescued by helicopter on Sunday. Their handlers had taken the llamas on a day hike, but then became lost and spent two nights in the wilderness before the rescue.
The women set the llamas free rather than tie them up so they could avoid predators and forage for food and water. They say as long as the animals don’t become injured they should be fine.
If hikers spot any llamas, Dawson cocoa brown and Chai is black with white under his chin.
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