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Waldo burglary defendants headed to trial

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Aug 02 2012 11:35:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 02 2012 11:43:58 PM CDT

Two defendants charged with stealing property and trying to sell it during recent wildfire.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

More details were released in a Colorado Springs courtroom Thursday in the case of a man and woman charged with breaking into a home evacuated for the Waldo Canyon wildfire.

Belinda Wells-Yates, 38, and Shane Garrett, 36, are charged with burglary, conspiracy, possession of meth and identity theft.  Garrett received new burglary charges after his initial charge of felony theft by receiving.

During a 2 1/2-hour hearing Thursday, prosecutors and an undercover officer provided their version of events in the case:

Yates and Garrett broke into a home on Allegheny Drive, just south of Mountain Shadows, on the same day that the fire burned several hundred homes.  The defendants crawled in through a pet door to avoid setting off the home's alarm.  A juvenile participated in the crime.

The defendants took numerous items, including electronics, musical equipment, jewelry, a checkbook and keys to a warehouse.  The defendants were unable to take a gun collection because it was bolted to the wall, but they planned to return later.

Yates later said she broke in and took the items because it was her way of helping the victims evacuate.  She also had been connected with numerous other burglaries of homes and vehicles, and was next planning to target evacuated homes in Woodland Park.

The next day, the defendants took the stolen property to the Sundance Mountain Lodge in Monument.  They were arrested when they tried to sell the items to the undercover officer.

Authorities found burglary tools in Garrett's backpack, and found crystal meth on both defendants.

That ends the version by prosecutors and the officer.

Garrett's attorney tried to distance his client from Yates, saying that she was in charge of the crime and that there was no proof of Garrett being present at the home. 

"(Garrett) said he knew the property was stolen," the attorney said.  "But there's a difference between knowing that and actually stealing it."

However, prosecutors said a statement from Garrett, "There was jack all over the place," indicated that he clearly described what was inside the house and likely had a role in the crime.

When Judge David Shakes asked what was so unusual about the alleged burglary tools,  the officer said it was unusual for someone to carry around such an assortment of devices without more useful tools like wrenches and screwdrivers.

During the hearing, the defendants -- still in custody and wearing orange uniforms -- shook their heads in denial during much of the hearing.

Shakes ruled there was enough probably cause to bind the defendants over for trial.   He set an arraignment date of Sept. 25.

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