Equipment Thefts in Denver Allegedly Funded Meth Habits

Sat January 25, 2003 - West Edition

DENVER (AP) _ Five people have been arrested for allegedly stealing $1 million in heavy equipment, trailers, tools and small racing cars to buy methamphetamine.

On Jan. 6, 2003, Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar announced the indictment and arrests of Timothy George Liakos, 39; his wife, Sally Annette Liakos, 42; Esten James “E.J.” Armstrong, 36; Daniel Sean Wright, 34; and Thomas Dean Buchanan, 41.

Salazar said the money helped feed the methamphetamine habits of some of the defendants.

About $400,000 worth of the stolen property was found at the Liakos’ property in Longmont, according to the indictment returned by a state grand jury Dec. 20.

The indictment was announced after all five people named in it were arrested.

The grand jury returned a total of 19 felony counts, including racketeering, aggravated motor vehicle theft, theft and conspiracy.

The indictment alleges the thefts took place during an 11-month period in the metro area.

The indictment alleges the ringleaders of the criminal enterprise were Timothy Liakos; Armstrong, of Littleton; and Wright, of Longmont. All three were indicted for racketeering.

They and the others are accused of stealing construction equipment such as backhoes, loaders, excavators and flatbed trailers along with two Stallard micro-sprint racing cars, two racing suits and two helmets.

Most of the property was allegedly taken from job sites and parking lots.

The indictment alleges that E.J. Armstrong primarily stole property from sites in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.

Timothy Liakos is alleged to have stored most of the property in Longmont, and is also alleged to have altered, disguised and transported some of the items to other people, including Thomas Buchanan in Fort Morgan.

Wright is accused of altering or disguising some of the stolen vehicles, assisting Timothy Liakos in transporting stolen property to Buchanan, and keeping at least one of the stolen items.