by Mollie Fuller
A wild party gone awry in Navajo Ranch Resort last Wednesday, July 1, resulted in injuries and arrests. Although the incident is still under investigation at this time, the details known are pretty outrageous. It seems that David Noga, 19, and Levi Kraft, 23, were joy riding, hit an unidentified female who was injured and taken to the hospital. It is not being released at this time whether the female was in the car with the two men or not, but it is believed that she was at one point. After injuring the woman, the two men continued their joy ride, ending up at a home they believed to be unoccupied. They entered the home illegally and were shocked to find the owner not only home, but wielding a weapon. At that point, the owner held the two men at gunpoint while the sheriff’s department was enroute. The men were arrested for aggravated motor vehicle theft, reckless endangerment, 2nd degree assault and criminal trespass. Noga posted bail and Kraft is still in custody awaiting filing of charges hearing.
It’s the 19th century all over again: Hard times in the economy have translated into an upsurge of rustling in cattle country. So many are out of jobs, and desperate people do desperate things. The thefts are often inside jobs and they aren’t always well-planned—a lot of thieves are just desperate for money. But high on the list of theft stories one doesn’t expect to see is an account of tree rustling!! You read that right. Tree rustling!
A former ranch manager has entered a guilty plea to a deferred sentence of the 4th-degree felony theft in a tree rustling case. Julian Flores, 53, was taken into custody on April 29, 2009 for the unlawful possession and sale of another person’s property. The property in question was 71 trees, valued at nearly $5,000. At his disposition hearing on July 6, 2009 in Huerfano County District Court Flores was ordered to pay the nearly $5,000 in restitution, and was placed on one year probation.
When asked what happened, Flores said he hadn’t been paid in a while and he was short of money. He was working with horses on the ranch when an unidentified person stopped and asked if there were trees for sale. He first said “no”, but in a desperate attempt to pocket some easy money, he later gave in and sold the trees without the permission or knowledge of the owner.
The theft count will be dismissed after one year if Flores commits no new offenses.