AURORA | A grand jury in Aurora’s largest judicial district has indicted a trio of men from Lakewood and Denver on a litany of felony charges tied to a series of armed robberies across the metroplex, prosecutors announced Friday.
Members of the grand jury returned 36 counts, including aggravated robbery, theft and a pair of felonies classified under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act that carry possible sentences of up to 24 years in prison, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
The three men named in the indictment are: 23-year-old Kevin Cervantes-Rodriguez of Lakewood, 39-year-old Justin Romero of Lakewood and 24-year-old Antonio Guevara of Denver.
Authorities have alleged that the three men robbed a dozen hardware and agricultural stores across the region in January and February, nabbing various tools and equipment that they later sold on Facebook Marketplace. Investigators believe the spree began at a Big R store in Elizabeth on Jan. 7 and continued until the suspects hit a Highlands Ranch Target on Feb. 18.
The triad is accused of stealing from additional locations of Murdoch’s, Home Depot and Harbor Freight in Longmont, Lakewood, Thornton, Golden, Castle Rock and Aurora.
“Over the course of a couple of months, this organization terrorized clerks at the above department stores and succeeded in stealing thousands of dollars worth of products from those stores,” the 29-page indictment reads.
Police believe the group stole goods from The Home Depot on Chambers Road in Aurora on Jan. 31 and another location on North Salida Ct. on Feb. 4.
In a statement issued late Friday, a spokesperson for The Home Depot condemned the rise in retail crime.
“Organized retail crime (ORC) is a serious and growing problem for all retailers,” Christina Cornell, spokesperson for The Home Depot, wrote in an email. “The Home Depot has dedicated ORC investigators who work with law enforcement at all levels to stop crimes like these in order to keep our communities safe. We’re grateful for the partnership with local law enforcement to catch these suspects.”
The group repeatedly brandished handguns in the presence of clerks when exiting stores with drills, welders, generators, batteries and other equipment, according to the indictment. They also deployed pepper spray into the faces of multiple clerks who tried to stop them as they walked out of stores and entered various stolen vehicles.
When executing a search warrant at a home linked to the suspects, police found one functional handgun and several BB guns.
Cervantes-Rodriguez currently faces the highest number of counts in the charging document with a total of 26 accusations levied against him, all but two of which are felonies. Romero and Guevara face 15 and 11 counts, respectively.
Both Cervantes-Rodriguez and Guevara are set to be arraigned in Douglas County District Court on June 4, according to court records. Romero’s attorney is set to appear on his behalf in court on May 14.
The indictment was announced less than a day after the same local grand jury handed down an even lengthier charging document against eight other individuals accused of additional armed robberies at local cell phone stores and dispensaries. The people indicted yesterday were also charged under the state’s COCCA law, which is largely reserved for criminal enterprises that engage in repeated patterns of illegal activity.