Fence stops auto theft suspect

A 40-year-old man was finally steered toward the cooler, accused of taking a hot car for a joy ride that ended in a crumpled heap in Collbran.

Darrel Brooks, 40, of Grand Junction was booked into Mesa County Jail on suspicion of aggravated motor vehicle theft and second-degree burglary, police said.

Desert Auto, 1002 Pitkin Ave., was broken into late Sunday night. Grand Junction police did not realize theft had occurred until they got a call from the Collbran Marshal’s Office about a stolen Subaru from the lot that had been crashed in Coll-
bran, investigators said.

“We found evidence of a break-in at (Desert Auto) and the owner provided us with a description of a vehicle that was missing,” a news release stated. “That vehicle description matched (the stolen vehicle that) had crashed in Collbran.”

The Subaru went through a farmer’s fence and became stuck in a field, said John Gallegos, owner of the car lot at 10th Street and Pitkin Avenue. He said the Subaru was valued at around $5,000 but wondered why the suspect chose it.

“We had a 350 Z out here. That is the one I would have took,”  Gallegos said.

“He had his options.”

Jeeps, Mustangs and other rides were available.

The crook who broke into his lot smashed out a rear bathroom window and squeezed inside.

“I would have used a bigger window,” Gallegos said.

The burglar knew exactly where to go for a ride.

“It looks like they went directly to the keys,” Gallegos said.


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