Two women facing felony charges for alleged theft of $179K worth of art, van
EAGLE — A Rifle woman who prosecutors allege helped steal $179,670 worth of art from a storage unit in Eagle last year saw her bond reduced from $7,500 to $5,000 on Tuesday.
Brittany N. Davis, 27, and Shanna L. Salazar, 38, of Grand Junction, were both briefly detained by police in De Beque last May after a license plate check determined that a 2004 Chevy Astro van they left running while they went inside a gas station there was reported stolen out of Eagle, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed Nov. 25, 2020.
When police later searched the van, they found bolt cutters as well as bronze statutes and various pieces of art, some with tags on them. The 16 recovered pieces of art were valued at $179,670 in total and traced back to an art gallery in Vail and to a storage unit in Eagle, according to the affidavit.
Salazar was detained after leaving a restroom at the gas station, when she requested an attorney and was not questioned further. Davis was located inside the gas station and agreed to speak with police. Both women were eventually released because the Mesa County jail would not accept them due to COVID-19 precautions.
According to the affidavit, Davis told police she was helping Salazar move the van, which had already been loaded when Salazar picked her up. She said she noticed tools and artwork in the van when she got in, but maintained she did not know the van was stolen or anything illegal was inside it. Davis also told police, however, that they were taking the van to a location in Grand Junction where vehicles stolen in Garfield County go before heading to a chop shop somewhere in California.
When the owner of the art gallery later responded to his storage unit with police, he noticed that the padlock on the door was different. His key to the missing lock, however, fit into a cut padlock that was also found inside the stolen van, according to the affidavit.
Prosecutors have since charged Davis with motor vehicle theft and conspiracy to commit vehicle theft, theft and conspiracy to commit theft, burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, and possession of burglary tools, all felonies. Her next court appearance is set for March 2.
On Tuesday Davis’ attorney, deputy public defender Jessica Dennis, requested that Davis’ bond be reduced to $2,000 so she can get out of custody and return to work — a request prosecutors opposed, noting they had originally asked for Davis’ bond to be set at $15,000.
Eagle County Court Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez lowered Davis’ bond to $5,000, noting her nearby residence in Rifle as well as the seriousness of the allegations against her.
According to prosecutors, Salazar was recently sentenced to four years in community corrections after pleading guilty to identity theft in a separate case.
In this case, prosecutors have charged Salazar with three counts of motor vehicle theft, charges of theft and conspiracy to commit theft, burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of burglary tools, and two charges of bail bond violations, all felonies. Her next court appearance is set for Feb. 23.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.