Denver Metro Auto Theft Team Busts Motor Vehicle Theft Ring

DENVER – Attorney General John Suthers and the Denver Metro Auto Theft Team (DMATT) announced indictments and subsequent arrests of five individuals of a motor vehicle theft ring based in Commerce City and operating across the greater Denver metropolitan area. The State Grand Jury handed down the indictment last Friday, May 12 and the arrests were completed late yesterday.

Vance Bain, Frederick Powell Jr., his sister Fredda Powell, and Richard Heilman are charged with violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, theft receiving, first degree motor vehicle theft and first degree perjury. The fifth individual, Robert “Bubba” Palmer is accused of theft receiving. If convicted, Bain, the Powells and Heilman could be sent to prison for up to 48 years.

“This investigation first began nearly two years ago, when the alleged defendants parked stolen motorcycles outside a police department in Sturgis, South Dakota,” said Suthers. “With the assistance of the Denver Metro Auto Theft Team, we are working together to lower both auto theft and insurance premiums for Coloradans.”

According to the indictment, the crime ring was responsible for the theft of dozens of Harley-Davidson motorcycles as well as other motor vehicles and personal property in the Denver Metro area.

Those in custody include:
Vance W. Bain (DOB: 12/8/73)
Richard Heilman (DOB: 12/26/78)
Robert “Bubba” Palmer (DOB: 4/22/74)
Fredda A. Powell (DOB: 1/25/74)
Frederick N. Powell Jr. (DOB: 07/3/75)

“DMATT takes the crime of motor vehicle thefts seriously and will continue to target organized groups,” said Arvada Police Detective Bill Johnson.

The investigation was a collaboration among DMATT, the Attorney General’s Office and the Adams County District Attorney’s Office. Other law enforcement officers who assisted in the investigation included officers from the Arvada, Commerce City and Westminster police departments, the Colorado State Patrol and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

This is the second indictment in an auto theft ring operation for DMATT, which is funded by voluntary contributions from the insurance industry.


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