Five people accused of stealing just under $1 million worth of cars and other property in Colorado have been slapped with a 90-count indictment after a grand jury convened in December.
That’s a big step in helping to deter future car thefts in a state which has seen a decade of increases in the crime, including a 31% increase from 2020 to 2021.
According to law enforcement, Nathaniel Tsosie, Craig Keltner, Justin Jameson, Andrea Wettig and Dustin James operated a car theft and burglary crime ring in the Denver metro area from December 2019 to March 2021.
The grand jury indictment from December said the group broke into storage units and stole personal identification info. They then posed as the identity theft victims, showing up at dealerships to test drive vehicles, never returning. The indictment said those stolen cars were sometimes used to commit other crimes.
What’s more, the indictment said the group used their stolen identities to open storage units at different facilities. Once they had access to those facilities, they would enter them legitimately, then burglarize different units.
At the end of the crime spree, investigators said the group stole 22 cars from dealerships and one vehicle from a private owner. The total estimated value of those rides is $836,000.
The 90-count indictment is loaded with a laundry list of criminal charges, including first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, second-degree burglary, identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation and felony theft, felony drug possession and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.