Julie Hayden Investigative Reporter
4:49 AM MDT, July 7, 2010
WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. - Admitted thieves are going free, while an elderly Wheat Ridge man is facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars, all, he says, for trying to defend his property and his life.
82-year-old Robert Wallace said in February that he looked out his window and saw two men hooking his flatbed trailer up to their pickup. He yelled at them to stop, but they sped away, stealing his trailer. He told police he fired two shots at the pickup.
Minutes later, police say 32-year-old Damacio Torres dropped 28-year-old Alvaro Cardona off at a hospital emergency room with a gunshot wound to the face.
Torres did not stay to talk with police, but they caught up with him later. According to court documents, he admitted he and Cardona stole the trailer.
Wallace did not want to talk on camera, but when we asked him if the two men threatened him he said, "They almost ran me over."
The Jefferson County DA's office said that neither Torres nor Cardona have been charged with anything at this point, even though Torres confessed to the crime. However, the homeowner, Wallace is facing twelve felony counts, including four counts of attempted first degree murder. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Sources say Torres and Cardona are believed to be in the country illegally and both have an arrest record. Cardona's record includes public fighting and numerous traffic offenses like driving without a license or insurance. Torres's record includes agricultural trespassing as well as a 2005 arrest for aggravated motor vehicle theft for which he was given a plea bargain to a lesser crime. Sources say Torres is also under investigation for being part of a major auto theft ring.
Wallace is out on bond and due back in court in September to enter his plea.
Neighbors say the thieves should be the ones facing charges and Wallace should be given an award for protecting the neighborhood.