Hotchkiss Man Sentenced in Theft of Detective's Assault Rifle
by Watch Staff
Nov 05, 2013 | 1382 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print

DENVER – Keaton Bell, age 25, of Hotchkiss, was sentenced Monday, Nov. 4, in U.S. District Court in Grand Junction by Senior U.S. District Court Judge John L. Kane to serve five years’ probation (with the first year in community corrections) for possession of stolen firearms and ammunition and possession of machine gun, the United States Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office announced. Bell was also ordered to serve 100 hours of community service.  Bell, who appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, will be released today and will surrender to the community corrections facility when there is an opening.

Bell, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on Feb. 4, pled guilty before Kane on May 30.  

According to court documents, while the victim, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office Detective and SWAT team member Kyle Hall, was in Denver undergoing cancer treatment, his girlfriend invited Bell’s girlfriend to stay at Hall’s home. Bell stayed with his girlfriend at the home, Oct. 5-7, in 2012; when the couple quarreled, Bell left the house, taking with him Hall’s SWAT equipment, including a machine gun, a hand gun, ammunition and tactical gear, all stored in the basement of the home.  

Most of the stolen equipment and weapons was owned by Eagle County.

After the crime was reported, officers went to Bell’s home in Hotchkiss, and eventually found some of the missing department equipment. Six weeks after the theft, when Bell was reported as a suspicious person at a Wal-Mart in Glenwood Springs, police were called, and subsequently confirmed that Bell had a stolen Colt rifle, a Glock, a .380 pistol, magazines, and a suppressor for the rifle from the detective’s house in his possession. A subsequent state search warrant revealed more stolen items, including a Colt M4 Commando .223 Fully Automatic Rifle, an EOTech Sight System, a Surefire Light System, a GemTech Halo Suppressor, a Glock 9mm model 26 semi-automatic pistol, and two .223 magazines, and a Bersa .380 with holster.

Hall died on Oct. 25, from complications related to his cancer.

“The defendant stole special equipment designed solely for the use of law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “In the wrong hands, that equipment can be used for serious wrong-doing.  Thanks to the hard work of the Eagle County Sheriff and the ATF, they were able to identify and arrest the person responsible for the theft.  I would also like to give my condolences to [Hall’s] family and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office….Eagle County has lost a tremendous law enforcement officer.”

“Detectives from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office worked long and hard putting together the case against Keaton Bell,” said Eagle County Sheriff Joseph Hoy.  “We appreciate the assistance of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies during this investigation.  All Sheriff’s Office and Detective Kyle Hall’s personal weapons were recovered from Bell.  Unfortunately, Detective Hall...did not get a chance to see Mr. Bell be sentenced for his crimes.”

This case was investigated by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer.

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