Aurora police say man angry about virus closures repeatedly vandalized Tri-County Health building

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AURORA | Aurora police have arrested a man accused of repeatedly vandalizing a local county health building in response to the recent commercial shutdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an arrest affidavit filed Friday.

Investigators believe Daniel Pesch, 36, drew graffiti on the facade of the Tri-County Health office at 15192 E Hampden Ave. and repeatedly threw rocks through the building’s windows between April 15 and May 11, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Police have recommended charging Pesch with felony criminal mischief and a pair of misdemeanors: defacing property and harassment, according to court documents.

Pictured: Daniel Pesch. Photo provided by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

Pesch’s name was not attached to an email sent to a Tri-County secretary May 5 calling for “a hot-shooting, no-bulls*** civil war,” according to documents provided by the Greenwood Village Police Department. County officials declined to pursue charges in that case.

For nearly a month, Aurora police allege Pesch sent derogatory and sometimes threatening messages to Tri-County Health officials over Facebook Messenger. The messages appeared to be sent from Pesch’s personal Facebook account and often referenced the recent vandalism at the Tri-County Health building in Aurora.

“Hope you’re enjoying putting small businesses under,” Pesch wrote to a Tri-County official April 11. “Enjoy your broken windows a******s,” according to the affidavit.

The following week, Pesch wrote back: “Best part of your policy is that I can keep vandalizing the s*** out of your building and the cops won’t do s*** about it lol … Spray paint and broken windows are just the beginning f*****s.”

Undercover Aurora police officers patrolling the Tri-County Health building arrested Pesch in front of the facility shortly after 8 p.m. May 8, according to court documents. He resisted arrest and was taken to a local hospital where staffers, “had to administer two doses of sedative to Daniel, because of his combative behavior,” police wrote. He was released from the hospital on charges unrelated to the vandalism case.

That irked 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, who has repeatedly blasted recently enacted policies designed to keep fewer people in state and county jails.

“What’s frustrating is the number of people who have committed ‘low-level offenses’ that are getting cut loose before spending any time in jail to address things like recidivism or whether they’re a high-risk or not,” he said. ” … This (case) may be representative of that.”

Three days later, police believe Pesch again vandalized the Tri-County building, writing “A******s watch out!” in Sharpie on a front window.

Police then had a phone conversation with Pesch May 12, during which he said of Tri-County officials: “They’re a bunch of d*** holes that think they can control everything …They’re just a bunch of pompous a******s … They’re just not getting the message. So, I just have to keep increasing the intensity, you know.”

Pesch then said he had “other plans” for the county building and blatantly refused to stop defacing the structure. Undercover officers reported seeing Pesch back at the Tri-County building several hours after the phone call. At about 8:30 p.m. the same night, Pesch sent Tri-County the following message on Facebook: “Cops can’t be posted at your building every night. I’ll get you, you f*****s. All of you.”

After yet another threatening message sent the following night, Pesch called police back and agreed to meet with officers in the lobby of the police headquarters building beside the Aurora Municipal Center.

Aurora police ultimately arrested Pesch earlier this week. He is currently being held at the Arapahoe County jail on a $5,000 bond.

As first reported by the Littleton Independent, Pesch has a lengthy history with area law enforcement, including falsely confessing to the murder of a Kiowa High School teacher several years ago. Pesch was also accused of serially vandalizing several structures across the metroplex last year, including breaking windows at an Aurora bank and church on back-to-back days last September.

“Regardless of what anybody thinks about Tri-County Health’s orders, this is wholly outside the realm of acceptable behavior in a civilization like ours,” Brauchler said of the most recent accusations levied against Pesch, who he reiterated will remain innocent until proven guilty.

Pesch is due to appear in Arapahoe County court at 1:30 p.m. on June 23, according to county records.