SAGUACHE — Three juveniles are currently making their way through the Saguache County Court system after burglarizing the Ute Theater on Fourth Street in Saguache in mid-March. One of the juveniles arrested in the incident appeared in juvenile court two years ago for harassing students at Mountain Valley School.
All three are charged with second-degree burglary, an F-4, criminal mischief (F-6), also theft and second-degree trespassing, both M-3 offenses.
A deputy initially responded to the call March 13 after Sky Hiatt-Gate reported finding a door open on the back side of the theatre. Theater owner Christine Gydeson was summoned to the scene to inspect the building’s interior for any damage.
On entering the building, it was first discovered that ceiling sections in the theater had been damaged and insulation had fallen to the floor below, creating a huge mess. The cash register was broken and lying in pieces in the main entrance and $50 was missing from the register. Other items in the same vicinity lay scattered all over the floor.
The bar was damaged and every cabinet in the immediate area was ransacked, with contents dumped on the floor. The cabinets held CDs and DVDs and Gydeson reported that many of them were missing.
The kitchen area also was vandalized and a bottle of Gatorade left on the counter, which Gydeson reported had not been there before. Wine glasses also were left on the counter containing Margarita mix. In the main entrance to the showroom, more ceiling damage was discovered and insulation had spilled onto the floor. Both the stage area and seats were covered in footprints. The projector room and equipment, however, was not damaged or broken.
Wells determined the point of entry (an air vent) and recovered three sets of shoe prints, partial fingerprints and DNA from the crime scene. After speaking to neighbors and business owners in the area, she discovered three male juveniles were seen repeatedly around the theater together. After taking their names, she visited each one and interviewed all three in the presence of their mothers.
One juvenile admitted readily to being inside the theater with the other two juveniles. He said they told him they both had entered the theater before and wanted to show him the inside. He apologized for his actions and told Wells he intended to stay clear of the law from now on.
Wells advised him he would still be charged because he accompanied the other two individuals. The suspect’s mother told her son and Wells that from this day on he would not be allowed to leave home unless he was accompanied by an adult.
The other suspect denied any involvement in the break-in and the third suspect, after first denying involvement, finally admitted he was there but told Wells the other two juveniles had done all the damage.
Search warrant issued
The investigation into the break-in proceeded over the next several weeks. On March 28 Judge Michael Gonzales issued a search warrant for the home of the juvenile suspect denying involvement. Deputy Elke Wells executed the warrant and later filed the incident report.
According to the report, when Wells arrived at the apartment on 8th Street, she at first was barred entry by the suspect’s mother. When Wells explained she could do the search the easy way or call in back-up and do it the hard way by forcing entry to the home, the woman allowed her to enter the apartment.
Once inside, Wells found the 17-year-old suspect, a previous offender, asleep on the couch. On awakening, he loudly denied any part in the break-in. The mother became very aggressive with Wells and at one point Wells told her if she did not cease and desist she would be arrested. Both mother and son directed foul language at Wells during the entire course of the search.
The suspect blamed the break-in and burglary on his accomplices and threatened to kill them without mentioning names. While searching the suspect’s room, Wells seized a pair of Jordan tennis shoes which later were found to match tennis shoe prints left at the theater. She also confiscated a movie taken from the theater, claimed by the suspect to have been given to him by one of the accomplices on the night of the break-in.
The mother accused Wells of setting her son up and told her the sheriff’s office would falsify the pattern on the tennis shoes to make their case against her son. Wells left with the evidence and the mother received a receipt for the items taken and a copy of the warrant.
Court dates for the juveniles are not available at this time.