Luis Colon: Moffat County Jail inmate

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Hello. My name is Luis Colon. I'm the person you ran a front page story on. The story in which I led the police on a chase all the way to Baggs, Wyo. I'm not writing this letter to dispute what you wrote about me. I really think that you should know the circumstances that led to my arrest. I also want to point out to you something about your little town.

I'm from Chicago. I ended up in the Moffat County Jail on charges filed in Rawlins, Wyo. The state prosecutor wanted to wait and see whether the state of Illinois was going to extradite me. It didn't. In turn, the D.A. in Rawlins decided to drop the felony charge against me. I was released after five months of incarceration.

There is no justification in this letter or in my decision to steal a car. I had no other alternative. My only motivation was to survive. I spent a week on the street here in town. I humbled myself. I didn't commit any crimes. Even though there weren't any outlets for me to reach out to. I suffered through hunger, being in the same clothes, and worst of all sleeping in abandoned cars in sub-zero temperatures. I'm a person with a lot of experience sleeping in the streets. I have very acute survival instincts. On top of all this, I can tolerate a lot. Not that I'm very proud of this, but I've been surviving on my own since I was 13 years old. I was orphaned at a young age. I'm not looking for sympathy from you, the judge, the prosecutor or anyone else for that matter. All I want is the truth to be known.

There are many outlets in Chicago for homeless people. Quite the contrary here in Craig. I'm a very resourceful person. I know how to take advantage of any and all community services. There are none in this town.

I tried to find a job, I couldn't. I tried to find shelter and was given two days at a hotel that was paid for by the Community Budget Center. I was very grateful for the help.

One the morning of Dec. 3, the morning of my arrest, I had exhausted all my options, which weren't many. I refused to spend another night in sub-zero temperatures in abandoned cars. All the while watching families enjoy themselves at the local McDonald's. I don't blame anyone for my misfortune. I guess the reason for this letter is to help the next person who wanders into Craig and is put in a situation similar to the one I was in.

This town and the lack of any real help for people like me played a major role in my decision to take that car. I knew I would get caught. In fact, I was hoping for that to happen. My basic survival instincts convinced me that the only way out of the hell I was in was to go back to jail. See, where I'm from, the big city, this is a regular occurrence.

A lot of homeless people tend to exhaust all of the shelters and find that going to the county jail is a safe bet for food and shelter. These people tend to be elderly, drug addicts and people who have a hard time finding and keeping employment.

I'm quite the opposite of these people. I have a very extensive work history, am a very able-bodied person, I'm only 28 years old. I'm also drug free. I wasn't looking for a handout. I was looking to earn my keep.

This town needs an outreach center. I know its possible for I was a part of some of the best programs in Chicago. I want to get across to you that I was in a lose-lose situation here.

Not fair, considering all I wanted to do was start over again. Something I've done on many occasions.

I put myself here.

I wasn't some loser on the streets looking to go for a joy ride. What is the to gain in thinking that way?

The sincere intent of this letter is to get the truth out about why I took that car, but more importantly to shed light on -- to me -- the very serious lack of community support for individuals put in a similar situation as I was in. All I want to accomplish with this letter is to show the community leaders of this town an issue that, as far as I can tell, is a lack of understanding of how varied the homeless persons situation could be.

I hope you can understand that I want to help. Use me. Spread my story around. I always think positive. One has to, to lead the life I've led.

My situation looks pretty bleak from my perspective. Considering the fact that I have a very extensive criminal history. I've never been to the "big house" but never say never. I truly believe that if my story is told that I may have mercy shown on me when it comes to how long I'll spend in the pen.

As I've already written, there is no justification for my actions. I only want the truth to be told and known.

Please consider me in your prayers and I ask that you consider helping me in any way you can.

Sincerely,

Luis Colon

Moffat County Jail inmate

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