EAGLE COUNTY — Kyle Hall, an Eagle County sheriff’s deputy, was dying of cancer when Keaton Bell robbed him, and Bell was given probation. Bell admitted he robbed Hall when he was a guest in Hall’s Gypsum home.
Bell, 25, of Hotchkiss, was staying in Hall’s home at the invitation of Bell’s girlfriend, a friend of Hall’s family, because Bell’s girlfriend’s parents didn’t like Bell and wouldn’t let him stay at their home in Eagle.
While Bell was stealing Hall’s guns and tactical gear, Hall and his girlfriend were in Denver, where Hall was receiving treatments for the cancer that would soon kill him.
Bell was in Hall’s home Oct. 5-7, 2012, when he got into a fight with his girlfriend.
Before he left he took Hall’s SWAT equipment, a machine gun, a hand gun, ammunition and tactical gear.
Bell called his girlfriend the next morning from an Eagle gas station to tell her his truck was out of gas. She met him at the gas station and bought him some fuel. However, after that and after she discovered he’d stolen about half the pills from a bottle of her prescription medication, she made herself his ex-girlfriend, she told sheriff’s deputies.
Hall was a sheriff’s detective, a member of the local SWAT team and had stored the equipment in the basement of his home.
After the theft was reported, investigators tracked Bell down on Nov. 2, 2012, in Alberta, Canada, where he was working for a mining company. They drove to Hotchkiss and spotted his truck in front of his parents’ house.
Deputies got no answer when they tried to call Bell, so Undersheriff Mike McWilliam sent him a text. Bell texted him back, saying he was working in Canada and was taking a first aid class. McWilliam asked Bell to contact him, and Bell texted back asking if this was about the guns that were stolen.
“I said yes,” McWilliam wrote in his report.
McWilliam asked Bell for permission to search his truck, and Bell agreed, saying he had nothing to hide and they could search as long as there was a family member present.
When they searched Bell’s white, 2000 Ford pickup, they found Hall’s leg holster, in which he carried his Taser for the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit.
Bell arrested in Glenwood Springs
Bell finally turned up in Colorado on Nov. 20, 2012, when he was reported as a suspicious person in the Glenwood Springs Walmart. Glenwood Springs police arrested him.
Investigators confirmed that Bell stole a Colt rifle, a Glock, a .380 pistol, magazines and a suppressor for the rifle from hall. Bell had put everything he stole from Hall in his truck.
Eagle County Sheriff’s Office detectives got a search warrant for Hall’s truck and found a camouflage-colored gun case under the front drivers’ side wheel well. Into that bag Bell had stuffed Hall’s Colt M4 Commando .223 fully automatic rifle, an EOTech sight system, a Surefire light system, a GemTech HALO suppressor, a Glock 9mm model 26 semi-automatic pistol and two .223 magazines. They also found a .380 with a holster hidden under the hood in the truck’s engine compartment.
The Colt rifle is fully automatic. It was clean when it was stolen, but dirty when it was recovered, indicating it had been fired, the Sheriff’s Office said.
“Detectives from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office worked long and hard putting together the case against Keaton Bell,” said Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy. “All Sheriff’s Office and Detective Hall’s personal weapons were recovered from Bell. Unfortunately, Detective Hall passed away on Oct. 25 from complications of his cancer. He did not get the chance to see Bell sentenced for his crimes.”
Bell sentenced in Denver
Eagle County prosecutors dropped their charges and handed Bell over the federal authorities. Bell was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on Feb. 4. He pleaded guilty to Senior U.S. District Court Judge John Kane on May 30.
Earlier this week, Kane sentenced Bell to five years probation and released him until there’s an opening in community corrections, where Bell is supposed to serve the first 12 months of his sentence.
Hoy told reporters that he’s disappointed in the sentence of probation, saying Bell should serve some prison time for his crimes.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.