Teens held in Junction gun thefts
November 13, 2007
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” A pair of teenagers accused of breaking into a Grand Junction sporting good’s store and stuffing a stolen backpack full of stolen handguns, face a host of possible charges.
Broch Riddle and Evan Phillips, 16, were both booked into Grand Mesa Youth Services Center after their arrest at about 6 a.m. Monday by Grand Junction SWAT officers at Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods, 445 W. Gunnison Ave.
The teens found themselves boxed by police for hours inside the store after tripping a burglar alarm at 1:30 a.m., Grand Junction police said in a news release.
The teens allegedly took a backpack from the store once inside and grabbed 31 handguns ” most of them semi-automatics.
Tony Taylor, son of store owner Gene Taylor, said they didn’t take any ammunition.
“Fortunately, they were apprehended without any consequences of force, which could have been very bad,” Taylor said.
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Taylor said the teens had a crowbar with them, but it wasn’t clear if the tool was used to break locks on a cabinet in the store’s gun department.
The only notable damage was to the gun cabinet and a window leading to the store’s photo processing lab, he said.
Taylor said he believed the boys tried to exit the store from the window. Patrol officers first arriving on the scene watched the pair attempt to leave the building and ordered them out, said the police news release.
The boys allegedly ignored repeated commands to come out and Grand Junction SWAT officers were eventually called to search the building.
Riddle and Phillips face charges of first-degree burglary, theft of property worth more than $15,000, criminal mischief, in addition to misdemeanor possession of handguns by juveniles, and obstructing a peace officer.
Riddle faces an additional charge of possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
Taylor said it’s not the first time their guns have been targeted by burglars.
“It’s been a few years, but they caught them that time, too,” he said.