Westside mom, son thwart fugitive Ė but it isnít cheap
It did not make TV or the big newspapers. It did not make the police blotter. Nor did it qualify the heroes for a Crime Stoppers reward. But no one can take away
from three Westside residents the fact that they risked their lives Aug. 25 to hold an allegedly violent fugitive at bay until police could arrive to arrest him.
Two of them, mother-son property owners Sandra and Brandon Biemel, still have bills to pay from the incident. One of their two rental cottages behind their house at 3629 W. Pikes Peak Ave. sustained about $2,000 interior damage after they trapped the suspect inside it that day, they told police - and recently the stove has stopped working too.
Note: Because the case is scheduled for trial in Colorado Springs Oct. 2, the suspect's name is not being used in this story.
The Biemels also have to worry about what could happen to themselves. The suspect has been in county jail since Aug. 25, but the justice system can't guarantee how long he will stay there. He was even scheduled this week for a parole hearing (which would allow him to bond out for $10,000).
Meanwhile, Brandon has to live with the look the suspect gave him - which his mother described as "hateful" - as police trundled the man off that day, and his alleged spoken threat, "I'll get you."
"It's something to think about," said Biemel, a long-time gymnastics enthusiast who has coached at the Westside's ArtSports facility for the past five years. "Once he gets out, is he going after my car, my property, or me?"
The incident reportedly started when the suspect snuck through a window into the cottage, where a female acquaintance of his lived ("a former girlfriend," according to Brandon). There was yelling and she fled out the front door.
Up to that point, Aug. 25 had been a good day for the Biemels. It was Sandra's birthday, Brandon was barbecuing steaks and she was about to watch a favorite show on TV.
But with the uproar from the rental cottage, both hurried over there. They had an idea of what might be trans-piring - the suspect had been around before, allegedly acting threateningly toward his "girlfriend," and Sandra had ordered him never to return.
At the cottage this time, they first thought he had left. But moments later, hearing a loud thump from inside, they realized he'd hid in the attic - apparently hoping the girl would return unsuspecting - and had just then fallen through the ceiling.
The suspect tried to escape, but was held at bay by the Biemels' other tenant, Michael Robinson, standing with a shotgun outside the cottage's access window, and Brandon and Sandra, holding the screen door shut against the suspect's desperate shoves, while they waited for police to respond to their 911 call. Meanwhile, inside, the suspect was breaking things, the Biemels reported to police.
During the fracas, the suspect allegedly also made threats with a knife (which was never recovered).
The next day, Sandra called the Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers, because the 4th Judicial District program pays people $1,000 if they provide tips that lead to arrests, and a check in that amount would have paid the insurance deductible on the cottage damage. She pointed out to program officials that they had previously listed the suspect as a wanted man, she had talked to two detectives who had come by the cottage one time looking for him on warrants, and she had called police when he'd shown up sometime after that (though no police came). But Crime Stoppers said the Biemels did not meet the program requirements.
"The call has to go through our tip center, then we can use that to follow up," Colene Edwards, the entity's call center coordinator, explained in a phone call later with the Westside Pioneer. "If they had previously called Crime Stoppers, then we called police, they would be reward-eligible."
A lingering mystery is that a Crime Stoppers reward actually was paid out on the case, according to Gold Hill Police Division Commander Kurt Pillard, but because of the program's anonymity, even he does not know the name of the recipient. The irony is that the payment would never have been possible if the unrewarded Biemels and Robinson had not held the suspect at bay Aug. 25.
The incident was so uncelebrated that Pillard was unaware of the case until the Pioneer recently asked him to review it. After doing so, he noted for the record that "it's not out of the ordinary" for citizens to help police in such a manner, saying "you'd be surprised how often that happens." However, he added that he was impressed enough in this case that he would talk to a couple of his police sergeants to see if a recognition award (no dollar amount included) could be presented to the heroes.
Westside Pioneer article