Fugitive in Hilltop burglaries probe arrested in Tennessee

Dartanin Mitchell

A former employee of Hilltop Community Resources accused of twice burglarizing his workplace and stealing a company van was arrested Sunday night in Tennessee.

Dartanin Mitchell, 33, was booked into the Shelby County Jail in Memphis, Tenn., just after 8 p.m. Sunday, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras said Mitchell, along with his wife, Jennifer, 23, were with the 2007 Chevrolet van owned by Hilltop, which Mitchell was accused of stealing last month, when he was arrested Sunday by Memphis Police Department officers.

Tennessee authorities couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on additional circumstances surrounding Mitchell’s arrest.

Dartanin and Jennifer Mitchell were being held without bond Monday and are scheduled for initial court appearances Wednesday morning, according to Shelby County Jail records.

An arrest warrant issued when Dartanin Mitchell failed to appear at a plea hearing Sept. 27 on charges relating to a burglary at Hilltop’s Family First program, located inside the Mesa County Workforce Center, 2897 North Ave. Mitchell allegedly broke into the building June 3 and stole hundreds of dollars worth of cash and vouchers intended for needy parents.

Mitchell, employed as a mentor to young parents, was fired by Hilltop on June 8. He was arrested by Grand Junction police on June 21.

Mitchell has been described by Mesa County prosecutors as the prime suspect in the death of his infant son, Lucius Lee Mitchell. The infant was injured May 27 in Grand Junction and died June 12 at Children’s Hospital in Denver. The infant’s death remains under investigation.

Mitchell was free on bond when authorities alleged he again targeted the Family First office on Sept. 24. Mitchell was seen on video surveillance breaking into the office shortly after midnight Sept. 24, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. A laptop computer and hundreds of dollars in cash, among other items, were missing, along with a Chevy van used by the organization, the affidavit said.

Mitchell fled Mesa County apparently without warning from a Global-Positioning System ankle monitor, which he had been ordered to wear as a condition of posting bond.

The GPS device was found Sept. 26 near the front door of his home, with no sign of Mitchell.


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