Police: Stolen Items From Fire Evacuees Found in Storage Unit

By: Alyssa Chin/KKTV Email
By: Alyssa Chin/KKTV Email

Colorado Springs police say they have found some stolen items that belonged to Black Forest evacuees inside a storage unit.

Suspicions were aroused after management at the American Storage near Woodmen and I-25 noticed a lock to one of the units had been cut. Thinking the unit had been burglarized, the manager, Nick Aulich, called police. He tells 11 News, he was suspicious of the couple that had been accessing the unit during the last two weeks.

"It was just the way, the way their mannerisms were the way they kind of acted. I just kind of had a feel for it you know, and then from I guess doing it this long," Aulich said.

As police began to investigate, they determined there was reason to believe there could be stolen property at the storage facility, and obtained a search warrant to enter the unit and investigate further.

"When (police) first talked to me they said that it's possible their might be victim's items in there," Aulich told us.

11 News crews were first on scene as investigators started to pull evidence out of the unit. After a two-hour investigation, a suitcase and backpack were taken along with several other items placed in large envelopes.

Police say the suitcase had an evacuee's name on it, which is how they made the connection that the items were stolen from Black Forest Fire evacuees.

"I'm just glad and American Storage is glad that we can help anyone's issue, you know. Whether they lost something or these people stole it, we just want to help them get their items back and I'm glad we were able to do that," Aulich said.

At this time, no arrests have been made but investigators say they have a person of interest. Once any suspects are identified, they can expect the face the maximum penalty if convicted. District Attorney Dan May has had strong words for anyone found guilty of stealing from fire victims, stating that they can expect to be "evacuated from the community for a long, long time."

Police ask that anyone with information about this situation, or Black Forest Fire looting in general, contact authorities immediately. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP.


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