DENVER (CBS4) – Eight people face charges after investigators cracked a major auto theft ring where dozens of cars were stolen.
Officers said the thieves didn’t discriminate and worked all over the Denver area. There were more than 70 victims in the crime spree.
Parking lots were targeted. Many were secured but the thieves would gain access by stealing garage door openers and then come back as many times as needed.
The pictures police released show an elaborate operation. Thieves targeted parking lots of high-end condos and homes. After stealing vehicles, they would eventually use them for other burglaries or sell them for drugs.
“What’s charged here is 103 counts. We think it’s probably a larger operation than that,” Denver Deputy District Attorney Kandace Gerdes said.
The indictment came after a year-long investigation by the Metro Auto Theft Task Force. It names eight main players — Marc Falkenhan, Harold Margeson, Tara Massey and Tiffany Weaver, who are in custody.
Still on the loose are Lee Ellis, Justin Nelson, Scott Pernesky and Levi Yazzie.
Last year Dr.Nicholas Nonas made a quick visit to a medical building on West Hampden. He was inside for only 30 minutes. When he came out his car was gone. The car, along with a briefcase packed with personal documents and a prescription pad, had been stolen in broad daylight in a packed parking lot.
“It made sense because it was done so quickly and so expertly,” Nonas said.
“This is certainly one of the larger cases we’ve seen with the same group hitting the same areas, and just the volume has been unbelievable in this case,” Gerdes said.
About 70 victims are named in the indictment with property loss equaling more than $500,000.
“All my privacy and private information had been violated,” Nonas said.
Margeson is also accused of running a meth lab inside his business.
If convicted the suspects could face 12 to 24 years.
The Metro Auto Theft Task Force was established in 2009. Six different agencies participated in the bust.