Girl’s photo drove sex offender in break-in
A Grand Junction sex offender, convicted of preying on a 12-year-old girl in 2009, admitted burglarizing a home last month and only taking a framed family photo showing another 12-year-old girl, according to an arrest affidavit.
James Graves, 29, most recently residing at 2893 B 1/2 Road, was ordered jailed Wednesday on $25,000 bond following his arrest on a warrant for suspicion of second-degree burglary, failure to register as a sex offender and misdemeanor theft.
Graves was questioned by Grand Junction police shortly after a woman reported Oct. 12 that she had noticed a 5-by-7 inch framed photo, which showed the woman’s 12-year-old daughter in her soccer uniform, went missing in late September from the top of her living room entertainment center in the 600 block of Kings Glen Loop, according to the affidavit.
Graves, a registered sex offender, was living several doors down at 633 Kings Glen Loop, the affidavit said. Graves de-registered Oct. 8 from the address and provided a new address of 2893 B 1/2 Road to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.
Graves was interviewed by police detectives Oct. 18 about the missing photo and initially denied involvement. When pressed, he admitted breaking into the home and taking it.
“I asked him if it was of the neighbor girl and he said, “I think so, yea it was. I threw it away right after that,” the affidavit said.
Graves estimated he broke into the home around 10 p.m. one day in late September.
“I asked if he knew that nobody was home at the time and he said, “No, I didn’t know,” the affidavit said.
He explained he “didn’t know why” he took the picture and claimed he hadn’t gone through any of the drawers, the affidavit said.
“He didn’t recall touching anything else, but when asked directly about it he said he didn’t remember,” the affidavit said. “James claimed to have thrown the picture away in the trash when he got home.”
Graves insisted he never met the girl, but said he saw her outside one time washing a car.
“I told him I believed he had been attracted to the girl and that was why he had taken the picture,” the affidavit said. “I asked him, ‘Would that be fair to say?’ and he replied, “Yea, I suppose so, yea. You could say that.”
Graves had been participating in a local sex-offender treatment group as part of court-ordered conditions in a 2009 case, which resolved with guilty pleas to charges of trespassing and attempted sexual exploitation of a child.
“The cases are so similar and that’s what is disturbing,” District Attorney Pete Hautzinger told County Judge Gretchen Larson, calling Graves a “massive public safety risk.”
Hautzinger asked for a bond of $100,000.
Graves was sentenced by District Judge Richard Gurley in June 2010 to serve five years of sex-offender specific probation. He was arrested after a Sheriff’s Department investigation as Graves was suspected of prowling outside a home in the 3100 block of Cathy Lee Place around 3 a.m. on June 24, 2009. An arrest affidavit said he tried to break open the bedroom window of a 12-year-old girl, the daughter of Graves’ roommate at the time. The 12-year-old girl was staying with her grandmother. Graves had become acquainted with the girl when she had visitations with her father.
When investigators searched Graves’ computer, they found a video of the same girl in which Graves had “zoomed in” on the girl’s privates, in addition to “at least” 58 sexually exploitative photos of children, the affidavit said.