JOHNSTOWN, Colo. (KDVR) — A former police commander charged with felony stalking does not feel it’s fair for pretrial services in Weld County to track him with a GPS ankle bracelet. Ironic perhaps, since the former commander allegedly tracked a former female co-worker at the Johnstown Police Department for 19 months.
Aaron Sanchez, 48, was arrested on Feb. 3 by Weld County Sheriff’s deputies and released on a personal recognizance bond the next day. He didn’t have to post any money for his release but the judge did mandate a protection order for the victim and insisted Sanchez wear a GPS monitor on his ankle to ensure he doesn’t go near the victim.
On Feb. 7, Sanchez’s attorney Troy Krenning filed a motion to modify bond conditions “specifically the requirement that he wear a GPS ankle monitor.”
“The so-called community/victim safety concern raised by the deputy district attorney does not exist…the alleged victim’s claims of believing that she was being followed by the Defendant go back to June 11, 2021, nearly eight months ago,” Krenning wrote in the motion.
A Johnstown police detective was able to verify using GPS data from Sanchez’s work computer on June 11, 2021, that he had been driving through the victim’s Pioneer Ridge neighborhood at 7:09 in the morning.
Johnstown Chief Brian Phillips returned from vacation 10 days later and was notified of the victim’s concerns and immediately began an investigation.
FOX31 obtained a copy of the videotaped internal affairs interview Phillips conducted with Sanchez in August of 2021. At the time, Sanchez was the number two ranking officer in the department.
In the interview, Phillips asked Sanchez: “Ever notified you that she thought you were following her?” And Sanchez responded “yes.”
Sanchez described in the interview an incident six months earlier where the former co-worker had come to the police department to tell Sanchez in front of a police sergeant that she didn’t want to be followed anymore.
Sanchez described the incident to the chief saying, “She asked me, or both of us if we were investigating a crime in her neighborhood. We told her no and we asked why then she said she sees Johnstown police cars on her street all the time. Then she said I also feel like I’m being followed. Sergeant Dickerson said, by who? And she pointed to me. I told her no I am not following you and that was the end of the conversation. The last thing she said to Dickerson and I on that day was I apologize this must be a misunderstanding on my part.”
Weld County prosecutors don’t think it was a misunderstanding. After Johnstown fired Sanchez on Sept. 15, Weld County Sheriff’s deputies conducted their own investigation which became the basis for the felony stalking charge.
An 84-page internal affairs report obtained by the Problem Solvers showed Sanchez had 94 photos of the victim or her daughters on either his computer or cell phone. He admitted to using his work computer to search his former co-worker on the internet when asked about it during his videotaped interview.
When Phillips him why,, Sanchez responded, “Um, again it goes back to compiling everything I possibly can find on her into a file folder in case I need it at a later time.”
Sanchez would never explain why he might have so much information on his computer about his former co-worker including photos of her home and even her bedroom from a Zillow real estate listing.
When asked why he had photos of her home, Sanchez replied, “The color of her house. We were getting our house painted and it was going to be the same color.”
Using GPS records for his police SUV, a Johnstown detective discovered Sanchez had driven past the victim’s home repeatedly over nine days in a 17-day period. But investigators couldn’t determine what happened on 162 other days because Sanchez had his work vehicle’s GPS disabled.
When asked if Sanchez had driven past the victim’s house during his internal affairs interview he replied, “Yes, I have driven past there, a couple of times a week.” When Phillips asked if that was a high crime area, Sanchez said, “No.”
The victim later told investigators Sanchez repeatedly followed her in his car making her paranoid so she installed a $3,000 security system and later “dreamt he hired someone to kill me with a chain.”
“If you are aware that she is making allegations of that nature why would you drive by her house if there’s not a call for service in that neighborhood?” Phillips asked. Sanchez responded, “She’s at work five days a week, she works day times.”
Sanchez was fired in September of last year after the internal affairs investigation concluded.
In his motion to get rid of the GPS ankle monitor, his attorney called the internal affairs investigation “a sham.”
A Weld County judge will hear arguments on the motion Monday, Feb. 28 at 3:30 p.m.