Statewide grand jury returns 90-count indictment against five in Front Range auto theft and burglary criminal ring
Jan. 11, 2023 (DENVER)—The statewide grand jury returned a 90-count indictment charging five individuals in an auto theft and burglary crime ring that spanned from the Denver area—including Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson counties—to Clear Creek and Weld counties, between December 2019 and March 2021, Attorney General Phil Weiser announced today.
Nathaniel Tsosie, Craig Keltner, Justin Jameson, Andrea Wettig, and Dustin James are accused of working in concert with each other and others to steal motor vehicles and burglarize storage units to steal their contents, including personal identifying and financial information, among other offenses.
According to the grand jury indictment, this group used stolen identities to test drive vehicles from car dealerships, and then never returned the vehicles. Stolen identities were also allegedly used to open accounts at storage unit facilities, then the access codes for these fraudulent accounts were used to enter the facilities and burglarize units. Stolen property, stolen or fake identities, and stolen firearms were recovered from the stolen vehicles, as well as storage units associated with the members of the enterprise. Stolen property was sometimes pawned.
The total value in losses is approximately $836,000 in stolen vehicles (22 from car dealerships and one privately owned vehicle), and nearly $109,000 in stolen property from storage units and stolen checks.
“Motor vehicle theft is a serious issue hurting a lot of people and businesses in Colorado. Stolen vehicles are often used to commit other crimes, such as personal property theft. It is critical that law enforcement work collaboratively to address the high number of auto thefts in our state and use all the tools available to do so. We in the Attorney General’s Office are committed to doing our part and will do everything we can bring justice for the victims of this organized auto theft and burglary crime ring,” Weiser said.
“The women and men of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated to protecting our community and bringing justice for victims of crimes. This is a good example of hard work and collaboration with our State partners to further protect victims and utilize every resource available to ensure justice is served,” said Chief Todd Reeves of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
The indictment includes various criminal charges including violating Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act (F2), first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft (F4), second-degree burglary (F4), identity theft (F4), forgery (F5), criminal impersonation (F6), felony theft, as well as felony drug possession and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, among other charges.
Tsosie is in the custody of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. Keltner, Wettig, and James are in the custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections, and Jameson is in the custody of the Wyoming Department of Corrections. Keltner, Weddig, and Jameson are currently serving prison sentences for crimes connected to the pattern of racketeering activity alleged in the indictment.
The cases were filed in Jefferson County District Court. The case numbers are Nathaniel Tsosie, 22CR3432; Craig Keltner, 22CR3433; Justin Jameson, 22CR3434; Andrea Wettig, 22CR3435; and Dustin James, 22CR3436.
The investigation in this case was possible due to the dedication and determination of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and financial support from the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority.
A grand jury indictment is a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime under Colorado laws. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.