New Castle burglars pick wrong house |

New Castle burglars pick wrong house

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jose Sedillo holds the ax handle he used as a weapon to chase off a burglar from his home in Peach Valley on Monday. (Kelley Cox/Post Independent)

NEW CASTLE, Colo. ” Two suspected burglars didn’t plan on meeting Jose Sedillo and his hickory stick Monday afternoon.

“I jumped out of bed and I was ready to kick some a–,” he said. “I ain’t got much, but what I got is mine.”

Sedillo, 46, said the burglars only got to take about $250 cash from his home on County Road 214 (Peach Valley) between Silt and New Castle.

After working a 12-hour shift in a natural gas field near Parachute, Sedillo came home at 5 a.m. and relaxed. He got on the computer, watched some television, then went to bed. He was half asleep around 1 p.m. when he heard someone knocking. Maybe it was the FedEx man who brings a delivery to his landlord Greg Selvage, who lives in the house upstairs and runs the Rose Man flower business, Sedillo thought.

It wasn’t. Sedillo heard the door open, then heard a “cracking” noise.

“It didn’t dawn on me that someone was breaking into the house,” he said.

He heard someone milling around upstairs, then someone came back downstairs and twisted his locked doorknob a little bit. The freezer door where Selvage’s flowers are kept was opened, then the person tried his door again.

“That’s when I sat up in my bed and was like, ‘What the hell?'” Sedillo said. “The next thing you know he put a big old foot on the door and popped it wide open. I jumped up. He looked me right in the eye. I reached for my bat, and off to the races we went.”

When the man burst through the door, Sedillo was just hoping the man didn’t have a gun or knife.

Sedillo laughed about wearing only his underwear, a T-shirt and socks while chasing the burglar outside and up his driveway with the hickory stick in hand.

“It’s a good thing they weren’t thongs, eh?” he said.

He said he turned back toward the house near the top of the driveway and called 911 after thinking to himself, “I can’t be chasing this guy clear into Silt in my underwear.”

Sedillo said the “bat” he keeps near his bed is actually the hickory handle of a pick ax, and looks like a baseball bat. He heard someone at the sheriff’s office had jokingly referred to him as the “bat man” when talking about this burglary.

Sedillo said the burglars must have thought no one was home, since “the Rose Man works during the day” and Sedillo parked his car elsewhere because it has trouble getting down the snowy driveway.

Garfield County deputies located two suspects shortly after Sedillo called 911 and relayed his description of the man he saw. A woman also called authorities and said a man she’d seen earlier running from Sedillo’s home was on Highway 6 near Coal Ridge High School, trying to hitchhike with another man. A deputy drove Sedillo to identify the suspect.

Deputies arrested Michael Joseph Salazar, 20, and Zachary Jacob Gray, 19, Monday afternoon. Gray and Salazar live at the same New Castle address and were booked on counts of theft, burglary, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. Salazar was also charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and Gray was charged with violation of bail bond conditions.

Salazar’s bond was set at $62,300 and Gray’s was set at $57,250 in an advisement hearing Tuesday. Neither had posted bond nor had another court date scheduled by early Tuesday afternoon.

A sheriff’s office report says evidence suggests the two are tied to several burglaries that occurred last week.

“I think it’s awesome,” community relations deputy Tanny McGinnis said. “To me, this is one for the good guys. He was there, he knew exactly what to do.”

Sedillo praised the deputies and the sheriff’s office. He said the investigation and use of technology similar to what he’s seen on the show “CSI” impressed him. It included use of purple and green lights to gather shoe prints, Sedillo added.

“They should make a story – Glenwood CSI,” he said. “They had the purple lights and green lights; they were shaking the bottles of little liquids and (stuff).”

McGinnis said an alternative light source was used, which can help spot footprints or other evidence. A “static dust lifter” was also used to pull a footprint off the door. It’s basically a black film that uses static electricity to pull dust off of a surface in the pattern of a print, McGinnis said.

“I tell you what,” Sedillo said. “The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, they definitely got their (stuff) together. You know how everyone says they suck and this and that – I commend them.”

Sedillo said it’s depressing to see the area change since he graduated from Glenwood Springs High School in 1979.

“That was back in the days where you could leave your keys in the car, leave your house open, and nothing would be wrong,” he said.

He’s glad the ordeal is over but was definitely shaken up.

“I’m still shaking, you know?” he said. “I’m almost 50 years old, I’m too old to be doing that (stuff).”

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