Craig police arrest two in stolen vehicle case
Police in Craig may have busted a stolen vehicle ring involving at least two motor vehicles taken from owners in the Yampa Valley region in recent days.
Heather Renee Franklin, 39, of Craig, was arrested Dec. 16 on a felony charge of aggravated motor vehicle theft, and a misdemeanor charge of theft.
Stephen Earnest Lloyd, 45, of Silt, was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated motor vehicle theft and a misdemeanor charge of driving under restraint.
According to an arrest affidavit compiled by Craig Police Department Officer Lyons, an employee at a local grocery store called police Nov. 27 when their car came up missing from the parking lot in broad daylight.
Police said they pulled surveillance video from the store and found the victim’s vehicle to watch what happened.
“(The victim’s) Ford Explorer can be seen clearly on the video,” police said in the affidavit, adding the timestamp of 2:26 p.m.
Police identified a Chevy Trailblazer that entered the parking lot and watched it come to the victim’s vehicle.
“The vehicle drives up and down every aisle in a zigzag pattern without stopping,” the affidavit said. “The vehicle then notices (the victim’s) Ford and stops on the north side of the Ford.”
Police said a man they didn’t recognize exits a Chevy Trailblazer and tries the victim’s driver’s side door.
“The male walks around the front of the Chevy and opens (the victim’s) driver’s side door,” the affidavit said. “The male briefly goes through (the victim’s) vehicle from the driver’s side door. Less than a minute later, the male gets back in the Chevy and leaves.”
A few minutes later, police said the Chevy came back.
“At approximately 2:44 p.m., the same silver Chevy returns to the parking lot and parks in the same spot next to the Ford,” police said in their affidavit. “A male exits the passenger side door of the Chevy. The male is unrecognizable because he is wearing a gray hoodie with the hood up. The male’s back is facing the camera. He is not wearing the same clothes as the male seen earlier in the video. The male then gets in the driver’s side door of the Ford and both vehicles drive away.”
The victim told police they had no idea who the suspect or suspects might be and didn’t recognize anyone.
By 4:07 p.m., about 30 minutes after the initial caller dispatched police to the store, CPD said they found the victim’s vehicle parked on Russell Street.
“I did not observe any damage to the vehicle and it was unoccupied,” police said in the affidavit. “I observed the vehicle keys were on the floor inside the vehicle.”
The victim soon arrived and the affidavit said they declined the police officer’s request to process the vehicle for evidence before searching the vehicle themselves to see if anything was missing. Apparently, there was.
“(The victim) advised a checkbook of blank checks belonging to (them) were stolen,” the affidavit said. “(The victim) also state a lockout kit was stolen. The lockout kit was used to unlock cars people had locked themselves out of.”
Because the victim had a towing company, they estimated the lockout kit’s value at $75. But nothing else was apparently missing, so the affidavit said the vehicle was turned over to the victim, and a copy of the surveillance footage from the day was collected.
Stolen holiday transportation
According to a second police affidavit, police said they were given a tip Monday, Dec. 16, that a stolen vehicle was in the Craig area, so they responded to Barclay Street where they indeed found a stolen vehicle.
“During the traffic stop, it was determined the vehicle had been stolen out of Rifle,” police said in the affidavit. “The driver of the vehicle during the stop was Heather Franklin. Heather Franklin and (Lloyd) were arrested during the stop for the stolen vehicle. Heather’s personal vehicle was also on scene at the traffic stop. Her personal vehicle had a flat tire and was being towed by the stolen vehicle. Heather’s vehicle was a Gold Chevrolet Trailblazer…” which was registered to both Franklin and Lloyd.
Police said in the affidavit Franklin told them during the stop she had been dating the original tipster who told police about the stolen vehicle.
After the stop and Franklin’s arrest, police wrote in their affidavit they returned to the stolen vehicle surveillance from a local grocery store a few days prior and recognized Franklin and possibly the original tipster in the video taking the Ford Explorer.
When police interviewed Franklin and confronted her about the surveillance taken from the store, the affidavit said she spoke the words “I’m going to say, now, you say that, yeah I mean,” and then she asked to speak to an attorney, so she was taken out of questioning.
Police would later go through the Toyota 4-Runner reported stolen from Rifle with its owner, where the affidavit said they found lots of Franklin’s belongings, a broken shifter so the vehicle could drive, several credit cards with different names on them, and Franklin’s Colorado state ID.
Police also determined Franklin was at that time free on a felony bond on theft and forger charges.