Sentence handed down in motor vehicle theft case

During district court proceedings June 16, Judge Gregory Lyman sentenced Travis Farmer, 20, of Pagosa Springs to six years in prison for Farmer’s role in a series of automobile thefts dating back to autumn 2008.

The sentencing was part of a plea agreement where Farmer traded seven counts of motor vehicle theft (from three separate cases), a charge of second-degree kidnapping and weapon possession for three counts of aggravated motor vehicle theft, a class four felony.

According to Deputy District Attorney Alex Lowe, the plea agreement called for a sentencing range of six to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for each charge, although Farmer will be allowed to serve the sentences concurrently. In addition, Farmer will participate in the regimented inmate training program. According to Lowe, the program functions much like a boot camp, and Farmer’s successful completion may bode well for a sentence modification.

Farmer’s plea and sentencing stem largely from his role in a series of incidents dating back to Nov. 18, 2008, when Farmer and a 15-year-old female went missing from Pagosa Springs in a Dodge Ram 2500 pickup stolen from Farmer’s employer, Precision Asphalt Paving.

According to Pagosa Springs Police Det. Scott Maxwell, interviews with a relative of Farmer revealed the theft and flight began when the suspect feared he would fail a urine test. The urine test was a requirement of his probation (related to previous convictions) and he allegedly worried the failure would land him in prison. The duo left the Pagosa Springs area in the truck some time in the early hours of Nov. 18.

By Nov. 20, the truck was discovered at a helipad at Diamond Bar, Ariz., near Hoover Dam. Soon thereafter, another vehicle was discovered missing from the site. Information on that vehicle was dispersed to law enforcement agencies and a witness was interviewed who said they saw the fugitives leaving the site in the second vehicle.

At the same time, the FBI was preparing a federal warrant for Farmer on charges of Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution.

According to law enforcement reports, the second vehicle ran out of fuel at Hoover Dam and was left in a maintenance yard, the fugitives leaving the scene on foot.

A short time later, Hoover Dam Federal Police contacted the two Pagosans on a welfare check. The two reportedly gave false names and information, but the authorities eventually obtained the female’s name, tracked the name to a Pagosa warrant, then made the connection with an arrest warrant for Farmer: A warrant was issued by Archuleta County Court Judge Jim Denvir Nov. 18, with a charge of second-degree kidnapping.

The suspects were arrested by the federal police.

Farmer was transported to a Las Vegas jail and was ultimately extradited to Colorado. His female companion was held until her parents made transportation arrangements.

james@pagosasun.com