News 5 Investigates

Jun 13, 2014 6:38 PM by Eric Ross

News 5 Guardians: Pueblo man waits hours for police to respond to theft call

A Pueblo man says he had no other choice but to take matters into his own hands after waiting more than two hours for officers to respond to a call about a pair of thieves stealing a lawn mower from his backyard.

For months, viewers have been calling News 5 claiming police are taking way too long to respond to calls for help.

This particular incident which took place Thursday afternoon took 2 hours and 8 minutes for officers to show up.

Why is it taking so long? The police department says they are understaffed and have to answer life-threatening calls first.

Captured on tape in broad daylight, a man and a woman enter Robert Shifflett's backyard through an open fence and gate and within 30 seconds, walk off with Shifflett's brand new lawn mower.

The pair seemed undeterred by the family's bulldog and a pair of surveillance cameras which at one point in time, the male suspect appears to almost look directly into the lens.

"I was mad because I just bought the lawn mower," Shifflett said.

Shifflett wasn't about to the his $150 investment and immediately called police.

"They (police) said they would get somebody out there as quick as they can," he said.

After waiting for about half an hour, Shifflett grew impatient. He grabbed his gun and began following the grass clippings trail left behind in the back alley where the pair made their escape.

The clippings led Shifflett directly to the two thieves.

"The male took off running and the female stood there and didn't know what to do," he said. "She grabbed her bag and hid in one of the yards."

It took officers an hour and a half after Shifflett got his lawn mower back to show up and take a report.

Pueblo police say they have to prioritize calls because of staffing issues.

Currently, they are short 18 patrol officers and funding isn't available to hire more resources.

Shifflett says had it not been for his home surveillance system, the two thieves may never have been identified.

"I put the cameras up just in case something happened so we would have some kind of video evidence and to give me and my wife some peace of mind about what's going on."

After officers reviewed surveillance video, they identified the pair as Henry Torrez and Kathryn Aguilar.

Both have criminal records and are believed to still be in the Pueblo area.

Arrest warrants have been issued for both suspects.

 

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