Car theft suspects arrested on multiple charges after allegedly stealing a car from Silverthorne
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct one of the suspects names and to add the charges the suspects face.
EAGLE COUNTY — A pair of car theft suspects who allegedly stole a car from Silverthorne on Monday, Jan. 25, were apprehended in northwest Colorado after an hourslong chase.
The suspects — driver Patricia Rae Stead-Pacheco, 31, of Denver and passenger Jose Munoz-Jara, 19 — used similar tactics to a group of car thieves that has been targeting Eagle and Summit counties over the past few months. The passenger was previously misidentified as Elijah Santibanez by Colorado State Patrol based on a Texas driver’s license he presented.
Colorado State Trooper Jacob Best said a driver fitting Stead’s description was described by witnesses in other car thefts in the area. The early-morning time of the incident Monday also is consistent with the other recent car thefts. More than a dozen cars were stolen in October and November in the Vail area.
Monday’s incident began at about 6:30 a.m. in Silverthorne, where a 2002 Volkswagen Golf was stolen from a residential neighborhood. The suspected thieves headed west on Interstate 70 toward Vail.
“The vehicle was observed in Vail by Vail police and some troopers in the area,” Best said.
Rather than initiating a chase, officers followed at a distance on I-70, so they would not alert the driver. In other recent stolen car cases, the suspects fled at high speeds when officers attempted to stop them, creating a dangerous situation from which officers felt it was better to disengage.
“We know they always like to run, which would be consistent with what we’ve been dealing with … so we were monitoring them, with multiple agencies watching, observing and staying at distances,” Best said. “It’s a huge advantage to us to have a statewide radio system that allows us to talk with agencies from all over the state and coordinate plans.”
The suspects exited I-70 in the Rifle area, and officers attempted to stop them.
“The suspect observed one of our unmarked officers, crashed into him and fled the scene from there at the Rifle exit,” Best said.
The suspects then attempted an armed carjacking in an area north of Rifle but were unsuccessful. The passenger at one point reached out his window and fired two rounds from a handgun, according to police.
“They were becoming more aggressive,” Best said. “At this point, it was starting to meet the criteria where it was becoming more of a public safety risk, and we needed to get them stopped.”
Officers used stopping sticks to deflate the vehicle’s tires near the border of Rio Blanco and Moffat County on Colorado Highway 13.
“The vehicle ran out of tread, was running on rims,” Best said. “They turned off the road onto a dirt road where they couldn’t go any further, and they were taken into custody without further issue.”
The driver and passenger face charges of menacing by use of a deadly weapon, assault in the first degree, prohibited use of a weapon, aggravated motor vehicle theft and unlawful possession of controlled substance. The driver faces an additional charge of eluding. Bond was set at $100,000 each.
Best said other assisting agencies included the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, Meeker Police Department, National Forest Law Enforcement, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and Craig Police Department.
This story is from VailDaily.com. Sawyer D’Argonne contributed to this report.
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