JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — An inmate at the Jefferson County jail live streamed to Facebook with a smartphone from inside his cell, county authorities confirmed Friday. The jail, officially called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s Detention Services Division facility, is in Golden.
The inmate who posted the video is Joseph Chavez, who officials said is in the jail out of Sterling because he has a court date in Jefferson County on Monday.
Video streamed to Facebook Live Thursday night appears to show Chavez inside a cell. With a cigarette in hand, he mentions that he is in “JeffCo” several times. Chavez’s cellmate is visible in the background.
Inmates are prohibited from having cellphones.
A Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said Chavez stole the smartphone from another inmate’s property bag after Chavez had been strip-searched in the booking area.
The sheriff’s office is conducting a criminal investigation into the alleged theft.
“Chavez and the other inmate were being processed for booking at the same time in the same location. How Chavez was able to steal items out of the other inmate’s property bag is part of our procedural review,” spokesperson Jenny Fulton said to FOX31 and Channel 2 via email.
FOX31 and Channel 2 sat down with Chavez for an exclusive interview, asking him how he got the phone.
“I just seen someones bag like their property bag, and I just ended up grabbing it. I seen cigarettes in there so I was like, I’ll go back to the pod and make some money,” Chavez said.
When asked if he thought it was difficult to steal the phone and cigarette, Chavez said it was easy. “There were like three cops right there,” Chavez said. “Didn’t even see.”
Fulton said they can’t disclose how many deputies were working the booking area, and no employees have been accused of or are suspected of wrong-doing.
“We are also reviewing our current policies and procedures to see where improvements can be made so this does not happen again,” Fulton said.
Chavez is in jail on a charge for criminal trespassing on a motor vehicle. He now faces additional charges of theft and introduction of contraband, the sheriff’s office said.
A statement sent to FOX31 from the inmate’s family asks for privacy:
To whom it may concern:
As many people know by now a member of our family, the inmate in Jefferson County jail; Joseph Thomas Chavez was recently charged with an introduction to contraband and theft of a cellular device. On September 13th, 2018 Joseph went live on Facebook of social media in his shared cell at Jefferson County jail rambling for about a minute and a half. Due to the circumstance, the video was shared numerous times and happened to go viral. Because of this recent incident, our family has been victim to numerous dehumanizing comments and criticism of his wrongdoing to members of the Chavez family over social media. We are asking for your respect of our situation and we humbly ask for our privacy to be appreciated while we handle this matter at this moment.