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Burglar given 21-year sentence

Former exterminator and convicted burglar Charles Trogdon was sentenced to 21 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections last week.

The sentence was handed down on Aug. 15, by District Court Judge Jeffrey Wilson in Durango, where Trogdon was convicted on 16 counts of burglary and theft following a January jury trial.

“I think it was a fair verdict,” said Deputy District Attorney Alex Lowe in a later interview.

Despite that belief and the convictions following a trial, Lowe reported that Trogdon, 51, maintained his innocence throughout the entire court process, including at the sentencing.

In addition to the 21 years, which will be followed by a mandatory five years of parole, the case is still open for further restitution (some was ordered at Wednesday’s hearing), as well as any appeals from the defendant and his legal team.

Trogdon was originally set to be sentenced for his 16 convictions on March 15, but that hearing was continued due to a change in Trogdon’s legal team after the trial.

Trogdon was accused of stealing from several area clients of his exterminating businesses that was based out of Bayfield.

Eleven of the 16 convictions against Trogdon were on Archuleta County incidents. Six of the 11 acquittals came on Archuleta County cases, as well.

Among the convictions were nine felony and seven misdemeanor convictions.

In May 2011, it was agreed that the Archuleta County and La Plata County cases would be tried jointly in La Plata County for economical and strategic reasons.

Trogdon did not testify during the trial, so earlier statements were used in which Trogdon indicated he had purchased some of the stolen items found in his possession (three or four guns) at a flea market.

Trogdon’s main defense at trial challenged the investigations themselves and whether those investigations proved Trogdon was the guilty party.

During the trial, Lowe said 15 firearms were admitted into evidence, as well as between 40 and 50 pieces of stolen property.

Trogdon was the owner of Professional Exterminator, which is believed to have been in business since 1978, with many customers in the Four Corners. According to the Colorado Secretary of State website, the business license expired in April 2011.

Trogdon was suspected of years of thefts from the homes of his customers in Archuleta and La Plata counties, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, guns and jewelry stolen.

Investigators and attorneys involved with the cases were banned from speaking to the media through much of the pretrial and trial work due to gag orders issued in both counties in December 2010 in attempts to quell information disseminated to the public.

Before the gag orders were put in place, however, Trogdon was arrested four times for burglary and served with five arrest warrants from Archuleta County and La Plata County in late 2010.

He posted a cash bond four times, for a total of about $76,000.

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

ACSO personnel also assisted La Plata County in a search of Trogdon’s property on Nov. 30, 2010. During the search, law enforcement personnel seized a number of stolen guns and $10,000 in cash. Subsequently, Trogdon was arrested for first-degree burglary.

Victims began coming forward following Trogdon’s Nov. 1, 2010, arrest. The arrest occured after 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 La Plata County Sheriff’s Office press release from the fall of 2010.

Another victim reportedly found Trogdon opening a jewelry box and had also noticed items missing over the previous two years.

The burglary and theft charges and convictions are not the end of Trogdon’s legal trouble.

After being remanded to the La Plata County Detention Center following his Jan. 18 convictions, two arrest affidavits were filed against Trogdon for introducing contraband into the jail.

The charges came after a judge granted Trogdon’s furlough requests on two different occasions to attend medical appointments, Lowe explained.

After returning to the jail, contraband was allegedly found in Trogdon’s possession.

Charges include felony introduction of contraband and misdemeanor possession of a schedule 4 controlled substance, Lowe said.

The SUN was unable to confirm what substance Trogdon had in his possession.

These charges have yet to be adjudicated.

randi@pagosasun.com

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