DENVER (KDVR) — FOX31 Problem Solvers are asking questions about why a person Denver police found in a stolen truck hasn’t been charged.
At Legacy Auto Collision in Denver, fixing cars is the focus, but owner Chris Winholtz has been dealing with a lot more than fender fixes.
“It has probably cost us in the upwards of 35 to $40,000 within a year with having to add all the additional security,” Winholtz said.
Winholtz said his small business has been hit by thieves multiple times over the last year. Video surveillance from last month showed a man walking around the Legacy Auto Collision lot, then taking off with his work truck.
“It’s amazing how brazen he was,” Winholtz said.
Winholtz is now more shocked by what happened days later when police found his stolen truck with a woman inside.
FOX31 Problem Solvers obtained the police report explaining how the woman inside the stolen truck tried to flee from police and, when they arrested her, had a pill of suspected fentanyl inside of her bra.
The woman, identified to Winholtz in an email, has a record in Colorado with numerous arrests and a guilty plea in May for a past car theft charge.
“They asked me if I wanted to press charges,” Winholtz said. “I’m like, absolutely.”
Despite Winholtz’s request to press charges, the police report said the case was refused by the Denver district attorney’s office with the reasoning of “no likelihood of conviction.”
“It violates you all over again,” Winholtz said. “The only kind of peace of mind you get is that they’re going to, you know, charge the person and hold them accountable for what they do.”
FOX31 Problem Solvers received the following statement from Denver DA office’s spokesperson:
Our prosecutors are filing motor vehicle theft cases and moreover, our filing numbers are up. In 2019, we filed 698 cases of motor vehicle theft, 900 in 2021 and as of June 8, 2022, 459 cases.
Regarding this specific incident, we did not believe we could meet our ethical obligation of getting a jury to convict so did not file this case. The reason being that the suspect who stole the vehicle was described and seen on video as an obese Hispanic male wearing eyeglasses between the ages of 22 – 29 with black hair and a “fade haircut.” The person found in the car was a 34-year-old White woman with long brown hair. Oftentimes, stolen vehicles are found with people in them who had nothing to do with the actual theft.
“I think that this is a this is a tough precedent to set,” FOX31 legal analyst George Brauchler said.
Problem Solvers brought the case to Brauchler, the former district attorney for Arapahoe County.
“The fact that they’re saying we don’t have a reasonable likelihood of success at trial is concerning,” Brauchler said. “That tells me that they either doubt their jurors or they doubt themselves. But that’s not a good standard to have and people ought to know that if your car gets stolen and passed off to someone else, that someone else is going to drive it with impunity.”