Crime spree that hit Summit County pizza joint ends with California arrests
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — A couple accused of stealing cash from the Silverthorne Old Chicago over the holidays were caught in California following a multi-state crime spree.
Chanzie Cox and Michael Ortiz were driving a car stolen in Frisco when they were arrested in Roseville, California, a suburb of Sacramento, in early January. After the arrest, law enforcement linked the couple to numerous robberies in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California, including nine home invasions.
In addition to the stolen vehicle, items related to the Silverthorne robbery were recovered from the vehicle.
Cox and Ortiz are currently being held in a California jail without bail as agencies from each of the affected states collect evidence. Once paperwork is finalized, the couple will be extradited to Grand Junction for sentencing.
The Grand Junction district attorney’s office will prosecute the case for all of the affected Colorado jurisdictions. The couple is accused of robberies in Silverthorne, Frisco, Durango and Grand Junction.
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On Dec. 28, right in the thick of holiday ski season, Cox and Ortiz allegedly stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the Old Chicago in Silverthorne. The couple ordered a meal and asked for a restaurant manager. When the manager arrived, they told him they had weapons concealed in their clothing, then escorted the manager to a back office, where the manager cooperated by handing over the money. The couple left the restaurant immediately without disturbing other diners.
Theresa Barger, a detective with Silverthorne Police Department, was in charge of the local investigation and involved in the ensuing manhunt. She says the couple made their first alleged robbery in Durango on Dec. 23. The two are accused of then robbing an establishment in Grand Junction on Christmas Eve.
The Colorado robberies led to the couple’s arrest in California, says Barger, who believes they were traveling to their home state in the stolen vehicle when they allegedly robbed several other establishments in Arizona and Nevada.
“Because of the excellent team work between multiple agencies — first throughout Colorado, and subsequently throughout Arizona and California — the identification of these suspects was accomplished,” Barger said in a Feb. 20 release. “This ultimately led to their capture.”
The release did not include additional details on the Colorado and out-of-state crimes or of the total value of the property stolen. Those details will be released when the initial investigation is wrapped up prior to the Grand Junction sentencing.
Barger and officials attribute the arrest to interagency cooperation. Over the several weeks that Cox and Ortiz were traversing the West, Silverthorne PD shared security camera footage from Old Chicago with media outlets and law enforcement. Still images from the footage led to the couple’s identification when they were arrested.
“It’s very satisfying knowing that people who commit crimes like this are captured and end up in jail,” Silverthorne Police Chief Mark Hanschmidt said. “The way law enforcement communicates today makes it easier to send reports, fingerprints, DNA, photos or videos to other agencies across the country. I’m very pleased this case ended the way it did and nobody got hurt.”
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