‘I lost confidence in the police’: clothing bank CEO says DPD failed to arrest burglary suspect three times
DENVER – The CEO who runs a Denver clothing bank said police failed to arrest a burglary suspect three times, even after reporting the alleged culprit to officers and showing them a security video.
âThe damage he caused has cost us literally thousands and thousands of dollars,â said Travis Singhaus, founder of Impact Locally, the non-profit organization that operates the Impact Humanity clothing store at 2526 Welton. Street.
Singhaus said Humanity is one of nine programs the nonprofit runs to “fundamentally restore dignity and hope to those who live on the streets.”
He said the impetus for the nonprofit was his own homelessness 12 years ago.
âIn fact, I saw what people went through and the realities they face day to day changed me forever,â he said.
Singhaus said he started meeting with friends in May 2010, packing lunch bags and handing them out.
âA few months after doing this, I started to realize not only the importance of food, but how desperate people were for clothes,â he said. “We have started to distribute winter coats and gloves.”
He said people always had to take things out of a parking lot or park, which was not dignified.
âUnless you had to do your shopping in a trash bag or a trash can you don’t know what that looks like, so we wanted to open a store where people could come in and shop for free. They could buy. clothes on a rack, try it on in a dressing room and they might feel like a normal human walking into a normal store. “
Singhaus said they didn’t keep anything of value in the store.
There is no safe, no money and no computers, just clothes and lunch bags, which are handed out for free, he said.
That’s why he was surprised when someone broke into the store on April 24 through a kitchen window. The culprit was captured on the store’s security system.
Two weeks later, the same individual apparently broke in, this time through a bathroom window. This burglary was also captured on security video.
On June 21, there was a third break and enter, with the suspect smashing a back room window.
Singhaus said it was again the same individual.
The three windows are covered with plywood.
âWe have had to keep them closed because we cannot afford to continue replacing these windows,â he said. “We are a non-profit organization.”
Singhaus said the burglar had been in the store for three hours, Monday night through Tuesday, ransacking the area, knocking over clothes racks and ripping off the exit sign and wiring.
He said this time the culprit was apparently armed and left a butcher’s knife, which was turned over to the Denver Police Department.
The CEO said he was attending a meeting later today Tuesday and decided to stop by the Safeway store on 20th Avenue and Washington Street.
âAnd there the guy is sitting with four other guys under a tree,â he said. “I called 911, gave them the case number and an officer showed up an hour and a half later.”
Singhaus said that when the officers went to wake the guy up, “he actually swung around trying to hit one of the officers.” He said they took his fingerprints and put him in the cruiser.
âI didn’t want him to know who I was or what company I was associated with,â Singhaus said, âbut the officer called me and asked if that was the guy?â
Singhaus said he replied that it was.
He said as he was leaving he saw the policeman take the guy out of the vehicle, remove the handcuffs and let him go.
The CEO returned to speak to the officers and was told the man had been ordered to enter and speak to detectives.
âI’m like, this guy is 90% homeless,â he said. “The chance of finding someone who is homeless is next to zero, unless you’re lucky.”
Singhaus was not happy.
“Unless this guy is the dumbest man on the planet, no one comes in when they know you have their fingerprints and they know you have video footage and they know they’re linked to three burglaries. , one of which is armed, âhe said. .
Singhaus added that it was incredibly frustrating to see officers doing this.
“It made me think, are we safe? ” he said. “If someone who’s armed breaks into my business and you’re going to let them go after you get their fingerprints and video footage, and you have my guy’s personal ID, what’s going to stop this? guy if he comes back? “
He said this essentially forces the nonprofit to consider hiring a security guard.
âWe also face the anxiety this puts on me and my staff,â he said. “I told him emphatically that after today my faith in the Denver Police Department is over.”
“It’s one thing if you think this could be the guy. He fits the description, but you don’t have anyone identifying him at the scene or you don’t have any evidence, fingerprints, video footage – just someone saying, “Oh I saw a guy that looked like that. That’s one thing, and I would understand that perfectly, “Singhaus said.” But when you have a mountain of evidence saying it’s the guy and someone personally right there, saying, ‘Yeah, that’s the guy. “That’s something else.”
He said it raises the specter of self-defense justice.
âBasically what you are telling the community is that we will not protect you. Your job is to protect and serve,â he said. “So people like me and anyone else in one of these neighborhoods, are we supposed to let this happen, or are we supposed to take matters into our own hands? That’s not a good one. thing. It’s a horrible thing. “
Singhaus said that when people stop feeling safe, they begin to live in an increased state of being threatened.
âGuess what they’re going to do,â he said. “They will do that [take matters into their own hands], or they’ll just be on edge wherever they go. This means that they will be more confrontational throughout their day. This means that their quality of life is drastically reduced. “
Denver7 asked DPD about Singhaus’s claims, and a spokesperson sent this email in response:
“The investigation into these cases is still ongoing. Investigators continue to gather information to identify a suspect. At the moment, there are no arrests. We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to call crime arrest officers at 720-913-STOP. “