DENVER (KDVR) — Denver police say eight people were arrested Tuesday night at the Denver Police Training Academy. A piece of plywood now covers up a hole made in the chain link fence police say the group used to trespass and deface signs.
According to DPD, officers observed a small group of people trespassing at 2155 North Akron Way around 9:30 p.m. Because of recent anti-police protests, the academy was under surveillance when officers say the group broke in.
Video surveillance captured the alleged crimes. Officers’ quick intervention prevented any further potential damage, according to DPD.
“If Denver residents have concerns and/or ideas about the future of policing in Denver, we encourage them to contact us and engage in productive dialogue,” said Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen. “However, reckless efforts to harm people and property in our city are inexcusable and will not be tolerated.”
Police have not explained the group’s motive behind the property crime, but Denver Police Division Chief of Patrol Ron Thomas said they carried tools that suggest express intent to damage property.
Police buildings have been the targets of protesters both in Colorado and around the country since the death of George Floyd.
“Certainly we think they were going to damage the building and maybe occupy the property as has been suggested at some of the other demonstrations that have taken place,” Division Chief Thomas said.
Two of the nine people arrested were juveniles. One person who was arrested is still being booked and no booking photo is available at this time.
Court records show the adults arrested have varying criminal backgrounds.
According to Colorado arrest records obtained through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Janette Steedley, 36, has a series of criminal convictions dating back to 2011. Those include reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and drug charges.
Records also show Benjamin Behrman, 20, was charged with felony trespassing in 2018 and convicted on drug charges.
For others, this appears to be their first alleged offense in Colorado.
Denver olice are investigating whether the individuals arrested belong to an organized group.
1. Jonathan Vogel (11/18/2001) – Investigation of 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass (M3) & Possession of Burglary Tools (F5)
2. Juvenile – Investigation of 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass (M3) & Possession of Burglary Tools (F5)
3. Rosemary Rianoshek (12/02/2000) – Investigation of 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass (M3)
4. Janette Steedley (05/04/1984) – Investigation of 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass (M3)
5. Richard Gonzales (09/03/1989) – Investigation of 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass (M3)
6. Christina Gatlin (08/28/1991) – Investigation of 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass (M3)
7. Benjamin Behrman (09/25/1999) – Investigation of 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass (M3)
8. Juvenile – Investigation of 2nd Degree Criminal Trespass
DPD said it is also investigating whether additional outstanding suspects were involved in the incident.
An earlier version of this story said that nine individuals were arrested. However, DPD sent an updated release Thursday morning that said only eight individuals were arrested. One person was detained and released without formal arrest.