Suspect in 16 car burglaries caught

Garrett Austin

A man caught with his hand in a glove box early Thursday morning is a suspect in 16 car break-ins, according to the Grand Junction Police Department.

Police arrested Garrett Austin, 22, in the 900 block of Glenwood Avenue shortly before 5:30 a.m. Thursday, officials said.

Police were responding to a report of a man seen trying car door handles and ducking down when cars passed by.

Officers found a man matching the suspect’s description sitting in the driver’s seat of a car with the driver’s side door open. He appeared to be reaching toward the glove box at the time, police said. 

When officers spoke with him, they noticed his pockets were overly full and he had a backpack with a drill and tool box sticking out of it, according to police.

The man, later identified as Austin, initially said he owned the car, but did not know who the car was registered to, police reported.

He later told officers he did not know whose vehicle he had been in and that he did not have permission to be in it, police said.

Austin was arrested on suspicion of felony first-degree criminal trespass of autos and misdemeanor theft, according to police. 

Austin was also cited on suspicion of possession of a dangerous or illegal weapon after officers found a butterfly knife in his pants pocket when they searched him, police reported.

Officers continued to investigate Thursday and identified 16 possible victims related to the case, police said.

There is a possibility that there are other victims who haven’t yet realized their cars were broken into, police said. Citizens who believe they could be victims in this case should call 242-6707 to report it.


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