Sep 192005
Authors: Hallie Woods, Katrina Tamminga

CAfter recovering from a gunshot to the arm that he sustained during an alleged robbery attempt, a man appeared in court Monday to face nine charges, including second degree kidnapping and robbery.

The Sept. 7 robbery with which Cruz Garrison has been charged was only one in a string of similar crimes. Two days earlier on Sept. 5, two break-ins occurred in homes in the 1600 block of Hastings Drive and the 600 block of Zuni Circle.

"It's fair to say we had reason to believe they (the crimes) were linked because of the manner of the robberies," said Fort Collins Police Services spokesperson Rita Davis.

Residents on Remington Street said break-ins have been becoming more frequent lately. One CSU student, who lives across the street from the house hit in the Sept. 7 robbery, arrived home during the summer to find his back door and the door to his bedroom kicked down.

Nothing was stolen except possibly some clothes, said Nick Amato, a sophomore business major, but the doors had to be repaired. He suspects the burglar was scared off.

Other residents believe robbers may be targeting drug dealers, or people they believe to be drug dealers, in the area.

"They hit a couple of houses up and down the street in the past six months," said pre-veterinary school student Leah Dsowiecki. "But after the latest failed robbery, I'm sure they won't be coming back."

Police would not confirm any specific similarities between the victims, saying an investigation is ongoing.

Early Sept. 7 Garrison allegedly entered an unlocked apartment in the 1200 block of Remington Street. Armed with a shotgun, he allegedly demanded cash or drugs.

The burglar held a male victim while trying to enter the adjacent apartment. He then reportedly threatened to kill a female victim, still unable to force his way into the apartment next door.

When the male victim the burglar was gripping attempted to fight back, the adjacent apartment owner reached for his gun,

"The apartment resident retrieved his personal shotgun and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon," Davis said. "The suspect dropped his gun and started to flee." The apartment owner fired at the suspect, hitting him in the arm.

He fled the scene with two accomplices.

At 2:15 a.m., 911 emergency services received a report that a man had been shot and needed medical assistance. Emergency personnel then linked the call to the earlier robbery.

Garrison was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Police took him into custody upon his release.

On Monday the house was empty. Neighbors said its residents had moved away. Inside, a vacuum cleaner stood alone in the living room and a broken mirror leaned against the front window. Spider webs and dead leaves blanketed a couch on the lawn.

Since the attempted robbery, police have arrested three men in addition to Garrison. Robert Joseph Cruz, 18, Gerald Lee Batrez, 18, and Mitchell Anthony Rosales, 18, are all facing charges ranging from being an accessory to a crime, to robbery with enhancements.

A district attorney's spokesperson said the trials are set to be held in Boulder, where a special prosecutor will handle the case.

Collegian Regional Editor Brandon Lowrey contributed to this story.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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