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‘One-man crime wave’ arrested, released ... again

The charges and arrest warrants against Charles Edward Trogdon are piling up, as is the stolen property seized from Trogdon’s home near Bayfield and the money Trogdon has posted for bail.

Trogdon, 49, is the owner of Professional Exterminator, and is believed to have been in business since 1978, with many customers in the Four Corners area. Trogdon is suspected of years of thefts from the homes of his customers totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, guns and jewelry stolen.

Trogdon has been arrested four times for burglary and served with five arrest warrants from Archuleta County and La Plata County since Nov. 1, and has posted a cash bond four times, for a total of about $76,000.

Trogdon bonded out for the fourth time Tuesday afternoon after La Plata County Judge Martha Minot reduced Trogdon’s bail from $750,000 to $1,000 on Monday.

Trogdon’s bond was originally set at $750,000 by 6th Judicial District Judge Jeffrey Wilson following a Dec. 9 arrest on burglary charges stemming from Archuleta County cases. Trogdon was served with an additional arrest warrant from Archuleta County Monday (while in jail) for 1st degree trespass.

Thus far, Trogdon is suspected in more than 20 cases of theft, burglary and trespass currently under investigation by the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, said Det. Rich Valdez. Information covering about one-third of the cases involving Trogdon fill a two-inch binder that sat on Valdez’s desk during the Monday interview.

It was unknown at presstime how many La Plata County cases might involve Trogdon. Other cases from Hinsdale and Montezuma counties also lead investigators to suspect Trogdon.

“This guy was a one-man crime wave,” said Det. George Barter.

ACSO personnel have carried out five search warrants of Trogdon’s property — three at his home located off of La Plata County Road 501, one of Trogdon’s sailboat at Navajo State Park and one of a mini storage unit in Bayfield.

ACSO personnel also assisted La Plata County with the initial search of Trogdon’s property on Nov. 30. During the search, law enforcement personnel seized a number of stolen guns and $10,000 in cash. Subsequently, Trogdon was arrested for 1st degree burglary.

The subsequent searches took place on Dec. 6, 7, 9 and 15. In the meantime, Trogdon was arrested three more times.

The Dec. 9 search warrant netted 35 more firearms, three compound bows, several hard and soft gun cases, a fly fishing rod, and more, Valdez said.

All firearms in Trogdon’s residence were seized. Valdez said two will be transported to Montezuma County for a case there.

Trogdon was arrested the same day for two more burglaries out of Archuleta County.

With two warrants on Wednesday, Dec. 15, officers searched a mini storage unit and again focused on Trogdon’s house. Information about evidence found during the warrant executions was not available by presstime.

“More information led us over to retrieve more items,” Valdez said of the searches.

Victims began coming forward following Trogdon’s Nov. 1 arrest, when one victim reportedly caught Trogdon in the act of attempting to steal money from a nightstand.

The victim had discovered money missing several different times over a span of 18 months and had used Trogdon’s exterminating services for eight years, according to a LPCSO press release.

Another victim reportedly found Trogdon opening a jewelry box and had also noticed items missing over the past two years, the press release noted.

“His M.O. is to spray, get a feel for the layout, befriend the family dog, come back when no one’s around and take small items and part of the cash so it’s not as detectable,” LPCSO Investigator Dan Patterson said in a previous SUN interview, though he added that Trogdon has allegedly cleaned out some customers.

Anyone with information concerning crimes in Archuleta County is encouraged to contact the ACSO at 264-8430.

Victims in La Plata County should contact LPCSO Investigator Dan Patterson at (970) 382-7015, Investigator Cody Story at (970) 382-7020, or Crime Analyst Carrie Bonine at (970) 382-7055.

Valdez and Barter said the sheer number of cases and items reported missing, as well as the lack of serial numbers, specifics and photos of those items have been the biggest problems in the case, but bring up valuable lessons in documenting and keeping track of valuables:

• If missing something of value, even if it is unknown if the item is missing or stolen, file a report, which can always be canceled if the item is found.

• Don’t trust people in your house.

• Document all valuables.

Part-time residents should leave a list of valuables and pertinent information with a close neighbor, friend or family member in the area in case of any burglary incidents.

In documenting valuables, take multiple photos of each side of the valuable, including any engravings.

Write down or, at the very least, photograph all serial numbers, engravings, and write down all brands and detailed descriptions of valuables.

randi@pagosasun.com