by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — Four Colorado Springs juveniles were arrested and charged in connection with a beer theft from the 7-11 here early Tuesday morning.
Police reports say officers were dispatched to the convenience store at 2:47 am Tuesday when the clerk reported a bald Hispanic male with a white shirt and tattoos had come into the store and taken two cases of Budweiser and Bud Lite beer.
Police obtained a description of the suspect vehicle and made contact. Officer Rich Isnetto and Cpl. Joe Deatherage approached the vehicle. The report indicates the driver displayed signs of being nervous, and Isnetto noticed a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage. It was also noted the other male in the vehicle matched the description of the person who allegedly stole the cases of beer.
Shortly after the two officers began their investigation, Isnetto observed what appeared to be the barrel of a shotgun in the back seat of the car. At that moment the traffic contact became a felony stop and all four of the juveniles were removed from the vehicle at gunpoint.
A case of Bud Lite was recovered from the vehicle as was a loaded 12 gauge Mossberg shotgun.
A computer check was made, and the shotgun was found to be reported stolen from Colorado Springs. Police Chief James Chamberlain also said the driver of the vehicle had two shotgun shells in his pocket when searched.
The four juveniles, a 17-year old male, 17-year old female, 15-year old female, and 16-year old male, were taken into custody without incident.
A social worker from the county DSS office was called to the police department to screen the youth who were eventually turned over to family members from the Colorado Springs area.
The driver of the vehicle was charged with DUI/DUID, driving under restriction (his license had been revoked), and driving with a cracked windshield and broken headlight lamp. In addition the four were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and charges of theft by receiving were made regarding possession of the stolen firearm.
The case remains under investigation and additional charges may be filed.