Video surveillance was used to crack an investigation into thousands of dollars worth of books stolen from a campus library at Colorado State University-Pueblo and the bookstore at Pueblo Community College.
The total value of the stolen books is estimated to be more than $10,500. The suspects, who are not currently students, hid the books under their jackets or inside of backpacks and left without paying. The books were then resold at area pawn shops.
Pueblo County Detectives say they used the surveillance footage in conjunction with witness statements and other investigative work to identify six suspects in what they call a “theft ring.” Five of them currently have warrants for their arrest.
Chad Nichols, 29, is charged with seven counts of conspiracy to commit a prohibited act – providing false information to a pawn broker. That is a felony.
Joel Pomeleo, 25, is charged with misdemeanor theft and providing false information to a pawn broker.
Wayne Safrit, 61; Jesse Manley, 26; and Amy Ratajczak, 37; were also arrested for various counts of committing the same prohibited act.
Anyone who has information about the whereabouts of these suspects are asked to contact the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office (719)583-6250 or Crime Stoppers at (719)542-STOP.
A sixth suspect, Dean Harris, 22, was arrested on January 17. He is also charged with six counts of providing false information to a pawn broker and three counts of misdemeanor theft.
Police say many of the books were recovered and returned to the schools.