Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the suspect’s gender.
DENVER (KDVR) — In one year, one person was arrested six different times for stealing cars in Denver.
FOX31 Problem Solvers spoke one-on-one with Denver’s police chief about the spiking issue of car thefts and why the same thieves are getting the opportunity to strike over and over again.
According to Denver police, they arrested a man named Illya Culpepper six times in 2021 for car thefts.
Colorado Bureau of Investigations reports reflect these arrests for five car thefts in the first four months of the year and another in September.
“Something’s going on and we need to get this figured out,” Chief Paul Pazen said.
Despite auto thefts dramatically increasing in Denver, Chief Pazen reports that his officers have arrested 46% more auto theft suspects than their three-year baseline.
“It shows a need to reevaluate some of the policies that have potentially created or contributed to these types of issues,” Pazen said. “We have to look at the consequences of the accountability. If we have individuals that continue to engage in this type of behavior and there is no consequence to change that behavior, then what is going on? How can we better address this? There’s a lot of different layers to this.”
Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock asked a team with the city attorney’s office to conduct a review of the risk assessment tool that courts are using to consider bonds. That review is currently underway.
“Supervision is something that we absolutely have to take a look at,” Pazen said. “Solving complex issues is usually best done by collaboration, people coming together and acknowledging that there is a problem and then working together to try to solve the issue. We’ll continue to try to encourage these communications.”