Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer gave an ominous warning to a rural fire chief trying to recover fire trucks stolen from his department.
Chief Jeremy Boyer needed the trucks in early 2013 for the recently formed Monument Rural Fire District, protecting a sparsely populated area in northern Grant County. The trucks were parked on the rural property of a prior fire chief, Roy R. Peterson, who court filings show had ignored demands he give them back.
Palmer told the new fire chief that "if he attempted to retrieve any trucks or other equipment from Peterson's property, he would be charged with trespass or shot by Peterson," according to a search warrant affidavit.
Boyer heeded the warning and didn't try, and Palmer concluded his criminal investigation of Peterson by finding "this is a property dispute and civil matter."
But a Grant County jury last week concluded it was a crime.
The jury convicted Peterson, a special sheriff's deputy, of the theft of 10 fire trucks and other firefighting equipment. He also was convicted of using fraudulent documents to obtain an $8,999 state grant for the new district. Peterson then diverted the money, according to trial evidence.