Operation Vicious Cycle: Austin Butler receives 16-year sentence for carrying out vast vehicle theft and bike shop burglary criminal ring
Sept. 1, 2022 (BOULDER, Colo.)—Attorney General Phil Weiser and Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty today announced that a judge sentenced Austin Butler to 16 years in state prison for committing a series of bike shop burglaries and auto thefts that impacted Denver, Boulder, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
During today’s court hearing, Butler pleaded guilty to one count of violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (F2), one count of second-degree burglary (F4), and one count of aggravated motor vehicle theft (F5). Judge Norma A. Sierra sentenced him to 16 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Four co-defendants in this case are scheduled for arraignment later in September.
“I am proud of our prosecutors’ tireless work and collaboration with local law enforcement to hold the defendant accountable for the significant harm he caused to several individuals, businesses and non-profit agencies from this vehicle and bike theft criminal enterprise. We are committed to ensuring others charged in this criminal enterprise will be held fully responsible for their actions, and to sending the message that property theft will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Weiser said.
The statewide grand jury indicted Butler and seven other individuals in November 2021 on 227 counts in the vehicle theft and bike shop burglary crime spree that occurred during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and stretched from mountain communities to the Boulder and Denver metro areas. The value of the stolen vehicles, stolen property, and property damage carried out from December 2019 until June 2020 is approximately $1.5 million.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty stated, “This defendant’s actions hurt the victims and communities all throughout the metro region. Since public safety is our top priority, I appreciate the teamwork that went into the investigation and prosecution of these multi-jurisdictional crimes. This lengthy prison sentence is, also, the result of great detective work by the Boulder Police Department. Finally, I want to recognize the outstanding efforts of our Deputy District Attorneys on this case; they will continue to work alongside our partners to ensure justice is done.”
The investigation and prosecution of this case was possible due to the dedication and determination of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, the Boulder Police Department, and the support of the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority.
The Butler case number is 21CR1808.
A grand jury indictment is merely a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime under Colorado laws. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.