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REPORTER NOTES ON COPS, COURTS AND FIRES FROM GREATER AURORA — news@AuroraSentinel.com @AuroraBreaking on Twitter


AURORA | A new partnership with Aurora public libraries and several of the city’s brewmasters went so well in its inaugural year that officials have decided to expand the program celebrating both books and beer in 2017.

The Aurora Public Library’s “Explore Aurora Craft Brews Tour” is growing its so-called passport program to include eight local watering holes from May 1 to Oct. 31 this year, the city announced in a news release Monday.

Organized by Aurora Public Libraries and Visit Aurora, the city’s de facto nonprofit tourism arm, the program offers prizes to people who visit various Aurora suds spots. In 2017, those breweries include Cheluna Brewing Co., Comrade Brewing Co., Dry Dock Brewing Co., Launch Pad Brewery, Peak to Peak Taproom, Stanley Beer Hall, Two22 Brew and Ursula Brewery.

Dry Dock

Dry Dock beer is made available for sale Jan. 24 at Chambers Wine & Liquor. It was sold out by Saturday, Jan. 26. The Aurora brewing company recently unveiled their new brewing and canning facility near Interstate 70 and Tower Road. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

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Cheluna Brewing Co. assistant brewer, Charlie Krupanszky, stands with owners Javier and Jennifer Pérez on Tuesday Nov. 29, 2016 at Stanley Marketplace Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

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on Monday March 28, 2016 at Launchpad Brewery. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

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Comrade Brewing Co. Honeyman 2 on Friday April 03, 2015 at Aurora Sentinel. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

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on Tuesday May 10, 2016 at Ursula Brewery. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

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Beer Hall on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016 at Stanley Marketplace. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

Only four breweries participated in the program in 2016, according to a post on the city’s Facebook page from last January. 

Participants are eligible to win prizes, including growlers and pint glasses, by getting stamps from beer servers in a small “passport” booklet that can be obtained at any Aurora library, online at AuroraLibrary.org and at some participating businesses. Participants must purchase a pint of beer to get a stamp. Four stamps nets a souvenir pint glass, and eight stamps will get imbibers a complimentary glass growler.

About 300 people participated in the program last year, according to Abraham Morales, spokesman for the city.

Megan Ellis, outreach and programming coordinator for the city’s library system, said the program helps highlight the ever-changing and multi-faceted functions of municipal libraries in 2017.

“Libraries in the 21st century are much more than just books so partnering with the eight local breweries gives us a great opportunity to support local business owners as well as showcase some of the fun, out-of-the-box offerings we have at the library,” Ellis said. “Last year’s inaugural tour was very well received, and we are excited to have Visit Aurora as a partnering host and new businesses join the tour this year.”

Participants will be able to pick up prizes they earn at any Aurora library through Nov. 8.

AURORA | Aurora police have softened their rules surrounding officers shooting at moving vehicles, tweaking a rule that has long been unpopular with officers.

Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz issued the altered directive March 1, saying that an officer shooting at a vehicle — while still something they should avoid if at all possible — will no longer be a mandatory violation.

Under the department’s old rules, officers still faced departmental discipline for shooting at a vehicle, even if an officer was cleared by prosecutors of criminal wrongdoing, and even if prosecutors said the officer’s life was at risk.

In a memo released March 8, Metz said those cases will still be investigated internally, but officers might not face discipline in every case.

“The Department agrees that shooting at a moving vehicle can be incredibly dangerous, and should be avoided if at all possible,” Metz wrote. “However, we recognize that there may be those situations in which shooting at a moving vehicle would be a last resort action to save the life of another or themselves.”

Former Chief Dan Oates instituted the directive barring officers from shooting at vehicles not long after he took over in 2005.

The policy irked the police officers’ union and union leaders have said it was unfair because officers sometimes need to fire at a moving vehicle to defend themselves.

The policy made headlines in 2011, when the city paid close to $400,000 in a settlement after police shot at a truck driven by several auto part thieves.

Prosecutors cleared the officers of wrongdoing, but citing the fact that the officers violated the directive, the city attorney’s office settled with one man who was wounded and the family of one who was killed.

In December, Aurora police officers shot and killed a man who rammed a Jeep into a Denver 7-Eleven. That case is still under investigation.

AURORA | The Arapahoe County sheriff’s office is looking for a man who robbed a pharmacy and tried to rob another this week.

Safeway Robbery Safeway RobberyThe first attempt happened around noon Saturday, March 5, at a Rite Aid in Centennial, the sheriff’s office said. Later that day, the same man robbed a Safeway pharmacy near southeast Aurora at 20153 E. Smoky Hill Road.

In both cases, the sheriff’s office said the man claimed he had a bomb and demanded several medications.

The sheriff’s office said the suspect is a white male, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall with brown facial hair. He was wearing a dark gray hat, gray sweatshirt or jacket, dark pants, dark sunglasses and a backpack. He also had gauze wrapped around his hands and some sort of tattoo on his right ring finger. The sheriff’s office said he might be associated with a silver, two-door vehicle driven by another person.

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 303-913-STOP.

AURORA | An Aurora man has been charged in Connecticut with enticement of a minor and could face at least a decade in prison if convicted, federal prosecutors said.

Nathaniel Smith, 29, was arrested in January and accused of using a cell phone and messaging and video-chatting services to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, prosecutors said.

A federal grand jury later indicted him on one count of enticement of a minor, according to a statement from the United States Department of Justice.

If convicted, Smith faces at least 10 years in prison and as much as life in prison, prosecutors said.

AURORA | Arapahoe County prosecutors Wednesday, March 2, blasted a judge’s decision to sentence an Aurora man to probation after being convicted of breaking a 46-day-old infant’s arm.

Evan Joseph McClure, 21, was convicted in December of felony child causing serious bodily injury and misdemeanor child abuse causing injury.

Prosecutors say in April 2014 McClure broke his infant’s arm and caused several other injuries.

Judge Steven Shinn sentenced McClure to five years of probation March 1, a sentence District Attorney George Brauchler said wasn’t nearly harsh enough.

“In our community, a person who is found by a jury of his peers to have criminally and feloniously broken the arm of 46-day-old infant deserves prison. Yesterday, in our courts, that did not happen. Not one day of incarceration was imposed,” Brauchler said in a statement. “To say that I am extremely disappointed by this result would be an understatement.”

But McClure’s lawyer, H. Michael Steinberg, said the case was far more complicated than prosecutors are saying. For one, jurors found McClure guilty of negligent child abuse, he said. Had they found him guilty of more serious charges — like reckless or knowing child abuse — McClure would have faced mandatory prison time, but the jury clearly didn’t think mandatory prison was necessary, he said.

“The jury was extraordinarily intelligent,” Steinberg said. “I believe the jury’s verdict was just.”

According to the statement from prosecutors, when the baby arrived at Children’s Hospital Colorado physicians noted 20 fractured ribs, a fractured humerus, a skull fracture, a bruised forehead and several other injuries.

McClure told police and hospital staff that he “played rough” with the baby, the statement said.

At trial, the jury convicted McClure of two counts but acquitted him of breaking the baby’s ribs.

In the statement, Deputy District Attorney Gary Dawson said that while McClure’s defense said the injuries were caused by a bone disease, doctors from Children’s refuted that.

“While we are disappointed that the Court found that someone who committed this kind of crime does not deserve incarceration, the child is now healthy and is expected to make a complete recovery,” he said.

Steinberg said that while the doctors from Children’s said the child didn’t have a bone disease, a world-renowned expert from California testified that the child did have a fragile-bone condition. That’s why the jury acquitted on the broken ribs, Steinberg said.

McClure has since been granted unsupervised visits with the child, Steinberg said, and has completed parenting classes.

“He has learned a lot from this as well,” Steinberg said.

AURORA | Aurora police officers helped a Girl Scout troop recoup some of their cash after a thief took their cash box full of cookie proceeds.

KMGH-TV reports (http://bit.ly/21vYDLD ) that police received a call Saturday that a cash box with $325 in it was snatched from a table outside a grocery store where the scouts were selling cookies.

Officer Ryan Wenke says about 20 officers scraped together some bills to either donate or buy a box of cookies so the girl scouts didn’t leave without any money for their labor.

Police are still looking for whoever took the cash box.

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. | A suburban Denver bus driver is suspected of driving children home from school while drunk.

The 54-year-old driver for Cherry Creek School District was taken into custody by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Thursday after he dropped 30 students off at his first and only stop.

School spokeswoman Tustin Amole says a district staffer suspected the driver of having alcohol on his breath and quickly notified district officials. By the time the transportation office was notified, the school bus was on the road. It’s not clear how far he drove.

The district says surveillance cameras didn’t show any erratic driving but he showed signs of intoxication in a roadside sobriety test. Blood test results won’t be known for two weeks but the district says he won’t be returning to work.

Aurora police say they’ve taken a new tact in their drive as illegal-party poopers.

Cops broke up a party last week organized on Facebook that resulted in 55 juveniles and one adult getting ticketed from breaking into a new, vacant house in northeast Aurora.

Police say such vacant-house parties are a thing and are asking residents living in new developments to watch for these break-in bashes and call police.

The Facebook group page is called “Colorado Parties.” Police said the group page is not public, but the list of members is. Even if you’re not part of the group, people can watch the pages of friends and group members to see where parties are.

Aaron Turn ‘Up Motta, listed as administrator of Colorado Parties Facebook group. Picture is from Aaron's Facebook page
Aaron Turn ‘Up Motta, listed as administrator of Colorado Parties Facebook group. Picture is from Aaron’s Facebook page

The Facebook page shows it’s run by Aaron Turn ‘Up Motta and has 1,231 members. Aaron has 4,997 Facebook friends and says he works at Arby’s, according to his Facebook page. Information on the public part of the Colorado Party page says:

“!!!ONLY ADD PEOPLE THAT PARTY INTO THE GROUP!!!

This is a group where you can find “Parties and Kickback addresses. Either you post the address or don’t bother posting at all! -NOBODY can see your post only the members in the group can. Page is (SECRET)>>>RULE<<<-Only post Party/Kickback addresses in this group! Nobodies (sic) gonna hit you up for no address JUST POST IT!

Police are urging parents to see if their children are members of this group or if they monitor it. It could mean criminal charges, police said.

During the May 17 party at 137 Kellerman St., police discovered more than 50 people inside the vacant home partying. Everyone there was ticketed for trespassing, curfew and some for alcohol possession charges. An adult at the party was arrested.

Kids at the Aurora party were from all over the metro area, police said, and learned about the event from the Facebook party site.

Police said some of the parties have resulted in thousands of dollars of damage to new, vacant homes.

To report suspicious activity in Aurora call 303-627-3100

— Dave Perry, Sentinel Editor

Deciding to cross the thin-blueberry line, metro area cops and Dunkin Donuts join forces this week to honor the men and women in blue.

Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Aurora and the metro area are offering cops free coffee this week. teaming up with the Denver Police Department and the Denver Police Law Enforcement Museum during National Police Week, May 11-17, 2014.  Police officers who show their badges or are in uniform will receive one free medium hot or iced coffee. Participating locations have also renamed certain products to honor the community heroes: blueberry coffee, blue raspberry Coolattas, and the blueberry donut, all intended to honor Denver’s “Men in Blue.”

“Police love their coffee,” said Meredith Calkins, franchise owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts at 366 Broadway. “Our location has a 24-hour drive-thru window, so we get a lot of business at all hours of the day and night from officers on various shifts.”

Some may smirk about donut shops bowing to police, but cops realized there’s a certain cringe factor, too.

“When the idea came up in our discussion, we thought, ‘should we do this?’” said Michael Hesse, Vice President of the Denver Police Law Enforcement Museum. “And the response from officers was, ‘Hey, we love this.’ So we decided to embrace the stereotype. Everyone loves donuts, so why not have some fun with it?”

The connection between donuts and cops is legendary, according to Denver Police Officer Dean Christopherson. Officers would walk their assigned beats – usually about four square blocks – in 12-hour shifts. Due to low wages, the officers would take breaks in nearby bakeries and saloons. Soon enough, the sight of policemen at bakery counters or with donuts in their hands became a meme.

— Nick Petrak, Staff writer

Lots going on today on the police and courts beat, here’s a roundup:

First, a crash on Havana Street left two men dead this morning.

In the James Holmes case, the Colorado Supreme Court has opted to not to hear the defense’s appeals.

Aurora police are searching for a Wyoming man missing since November. Investigators say the man might have been the victim of foul play.

And lastly, an Aurora woman has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for pimping an 18-year-old woman.