UPDATE: Cops call off search for suspect in vehicle thefts

Authorities this afternoon called off the search for a fugitive believed to have stolen two vehicles in Fruita and held up one of the occupants at gunpoint.

Meanwhile, the other man, 32-year-old German Martinez-Riveria of Los Angeles, made his first appearance in court this afternoon.

Martinez-Riveria, a suspected illegal immigrant, was advised by County Judge Gretchen Larson that he could be charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated motor vehicle theft and one felony count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. He was booked into the Mesa County Jail around 7 p.m. Monday.

Authorities aren’t releasing his mug shot.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said this morning that residents in the Mack area are allowed to come and go freely. Deputies were escorting people to and from their homes for a short time Monday night while they searched for Martinez-Riveria and another unknown Hispanic man.

Martinez-Riveria and the unknown man are suspected of stealing a black pickup truck from the Fruita Community Center, 324 N. Coulson St. and a white Dodge Nitro sport-utility vehicle from the Go-Fer Foods, 106 S. Park Square, Monday afternoon. A person who was in the passenger seat of the Nitro was robbed at gunpoint, sheriff’s officials said.

Fruita police later recovered the black truck near Interstate 70 and Colorado Highway 139, then later joined with the Colorado State Patrol and the Sheriff’s Department in pursuing the Dodge Nitro. The suspects eventually abandoned the Nitro at the intersection of R and 10 roads. Members of the sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics team were able to locate and arrest Martinez-Riveria.

SWAT team officers, deputies and State Patrol troopers returned to the Mack area this morning to continue searching buildings, homes and fields for the second suspect. The State Patrol launched a fixed-wing aircraft to assist in the search.

The second suspect is described as an adult Hispanic male in his 20s, wearing dark clothing that is likely muddy and wet.

Authorities encourage people to call 911 to report any suspicious activity in the Loma area and recommend that no one pick up any hitchhikers.

Read the full story in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel.


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