Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office The Detail Newsletter - February 2021


Storage unit thefts are rising in Arapahoe County. Here's how to protect yourself.

Arapahoe County residents need to take extra steps these days to protect their belongings. Records show there's been an 80% increase in storage unit burglaries from 2019 to 2020. Many of the cases involve multiple units being victimized at the same time.

An indoor storage unit in Centennial that's been hit numerous times

Investigators say storage units are easy to break into, especially ones with a lack of on-site security. Often times the crooks will cut or grind the locks to get into one unit, then climb from unit to unit by cutting the chicken wire above.

Chicken wire is removed and bent by thieves in an effort to climb into multiple units

Crooks have even been known to cut chain link fences that surround a storage facility's property.

But investigators say there are many other ways thieves get inside storage facilities. Sometimes they'll follow someone in on foot through an open gate, while others are brazen enough to pull in with a truck. Once they load up your valuables, they sell, pawn or trade the stolen items for drugs.

Investigators suggest buying a high-quality padlock like this one which are tougher to saw or grind open

Storage units are a popular place for thieves to hit because most people don't check them everyday, so by the time people realize their items are taken, it may be too late. Often times the crooks will even replace the sawed off lock with a new one so no one notices until the owner returns.

Employee at a local storage facility shows Deputy Scott Sickafoose the types of locks they use

If you're considering renting a storage unit, our investigators offer these tips and questions to ask:


  • Invest in a high quality padlock
  • Take photographs and inventory all your belongings
  • Do not give other people access to your storage unit
  • Never prop a door open while loading/unloading
  • Check your storage unit on a weekly or monthly basis
  • Limit the value of property you store to the amount the facility limits for insurance purposes
  • If you see something suspicious, call our non-emergency dispatch at 303-795-4711


  1. Do you have on-site security?
  2. How many cameras are on the premises?
  3. Are people allowed in after hours?
  4. Do the interior walls go up to the ceiling or can you pass through?
  5. Does foot traffic have access to the facility?
Beware: The interior walls on the left do not reach the ceiling so thieves can easily cut the chicken wire above to pass through units. Look for a storage facility like the one on the right, where the walls reach the ceiling
  • When in doubt, leave your valuables at home, with a family member or friend or rent a safe deposit box
  • Never leave keys inside motorcycles or ATV's
  • If possible, only store large items in a storage unit, such as furniture or appliances

If you'd like to report a storage unit theft or have a tip that may help investigators, please call 303-795-4711.


The residents of Cherry Hills Assisted Living and Memory Care in Centennial couldn't help their excitement when our Mounted Patrol Unit showed up for a visit. The grand entrance went off without a hitch and there were smiles for miles!

Seven horses and two miniature horses visited with residents who, unfortunately, don't get out much these days due to the pandemic. So imagine their joy when our equines trotted right up to their gate!

While some residents did venture outside, some chose to remain indoors and say hello from their windows.

Either way, the staff says it was a very memorable experience for everyone and they were overjoyed with the visit from our mounted unit.

Click HERE to learn more about our Mounted Unit.

Follow our Mounted Unit on Instagram @arapahoemountedunit.

Did you ever collect trading cards as a kid? Our Mounted Patrol Unit just unveiled it's collection of trading cards. Similar to baseball cards, each one has a photo of the mounted unit deputies with their horses. There's even a card for our mini horse, Love Bug. Our hope is to connect with kids in our community who can get to know our deputies better and learn more about horses at the same time. So next time you see one of them on horseback, ask for a trading card and collect all four.

Future deputies in training

Twice a year, a group of new cadets enters the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Facility to begin the process of becoming an Arapahoe County sheriff's deputy. The police academy prepares cadets in the most professional manner for a successful career in law enforcement.

Cadets participate in a team-building exercise with "The Totem," a heavy pressure-treated timber used in an obstacle course

The cadet training is conducted in an environment of regimented self-discipline, emphasizing professionalism, courtesy, integrity and respect. The goal? To promote and encourage an atmosphere that fosters an attitude of confident yet humble public service.

Cadets practicing physical fitness exercises at the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Facility

This is Class 12, which is currently spending 21 weeks at the training academy. There are 34 cadets from 6 different agencies, including the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Greenwood Village Police Department, Parker Police Department, Summit County Sheriff's Office and the Northglenn Police Department.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown gives a pep talk at the start of every academy

When finished, these cadets will become Colorado P.O.S.T. certified as peace officers. If you or someone you know would like to apply for a position as a deputy with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, click the button below for more information.

51 years later: Murder of Colorado teen remains a mystery

Marilee Ruth Burt, 15

On a chilly winter evening on February 26, 1970, exactly 51 years ago, 15-year-old Marilee Burt finished cheerleading at a basketball game at Goddard Middle School.

Right: Marilee Burt, 15

Her home in Columbine Valley was a short distance away, so when her ride did not show up, Marilee began walking. Despite several witnesses seeing Marilee walk a route that included Berry Drive, Bowles Avenue and Middlefield Road, she never made it home.

Marilee was last seen talking to someone in a vehicle that had stopped in the 6000 Block of South Middlefield Road. Her family began a frantic search and reported Marilee as missing to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office. Authorities immediately began canvassing the area, but she was not found that evening. The search continued into the next day and ended tragically around noon on February 27, 1970. A Jefferson County road crew discovered Marilee’s nude body in Deer Creek Canyon, southwest from where she was last seen.

It was determined that Marilee had been kidnapped, strangled and raped, but no solid suspect leads developed and the case went cold.

During a 1998 review of the case, evidence collected in 1970 was submitted for DNA analysis and yielded a full donor profile.

as of today, we've eliminated more than 40 possible suspects and we still have several more we're looking into," says investigator Kristin Mccauley.

More than a dozen binders fill the shelves on this 51-year old murder as the Cold Case Team continues to utilize its new genetic profile in an attempt to identify Marilee’s killer.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office would like to solve this case and bring closure to the family. If you have any information, please contact Deputy Kristin McCauley at kmccauley@arapahoegov.com or call 303-795-4711.

Marilee Burt is buried at Chapel Hills Memorial Gardens in Littleton, CO

When our deputies go above and beyond...

Queen of the Road

A follow up to a story we first brought you last month about Deputy Shannon Lofland who teaches cops how to drive. The Denver Gazette loved the story so much, it profiled Deputy Lofland in its online publication and so did KUSA-TV 9News. Read and watch both stories below.

Injured K-9 returns home

We always love stories about our brothers and sisters in blue. This one may just bring tears to your eyes. A police K-9 from the Thurston County Sheriff's Office in Olympia, Washington is finally back home and his journey made him TikTok famous! K-9 Arlo was shot multiple times during a police chase and had to undergo life-saving surgery to remove a bullet from his spine. Watch his emotional return home below.