Police believe they’ve found the bodies of Shanann Watts’ 2 daughters

Highlands Ranch man confronts teen suspects who were on alleged crime spree

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Law enforcement investigators said a Highlands Ranch man is lucky to be alive Tuesday night after he confronted four thieves trying to steal loose change from his car.

Officers call them "the little thieves." The four teenage boys went from one Highlands Ranch neighborhood to the next Monday night breaking into cars.

"Without question, there's more criminal activity they're involved in," Castle Rock police Cmdr. Jason Lyons said.

But the 15- and 16-year-olds got much more than they bargained for when they allegedly opened a car door on Astrobrook Circle.

"I heard something. I don't know what it was," Dorothy Morton said.

Morton woke up and looked out the window. Her son, Dustin, was already downstairs and in the garage, secretly watching the thieves rifle through their cars.

"He darted around the back of their car and he was on that kid. I mean, I didn't know he could move that fast," Morton said.

Dustin put one of the thieves in a choke hold. Morton called 911 and ran downstairs.

"And then all of a sudden I hear 'I've got a gun.' And by this time I'm coming down the stairs and I hear 'pop.' My heart just sank. I was terrified my son was lying in the street," she said.

Fortunately, Dustin wasn't hit. He let go of the thief and the suspect took off. But deputies said he's lucky to be alive.

"It outweighs what needs to be done. We need you to just be good eyes and ears for us and let us come and let us do the crime fighting," said Steve Johnson, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office chief deputy of the law enforcement bureau.

It's a message being reiterated by Dustin's mother, still in shock about what could have happened to her son right outside their home.

"Don't do this. Do not do this. This is really dangerous. You don't know who has a gun," Morton said.

She said she wants to see the boys charged with attempted murder.

The four were later apprehended in Castle Rock. At this point, all four are facing a long list of charges, including felony menacing, burglary, vehicle trespassing, juveniles in possession and eluding police. Investigators said they were also driving a stolen car and that more charges are likely.