About 4,000 Delta area residents enjoying a quiet evening at home were startled by an automated Code Red alert warning them of two "armed and dangerous" individuals on the loose.
The calls were generated Thursday, Nov. 19, shortly after officers of the Delta Police Department responded to a robbery at the Western Convenience Store at 15th and Howard. Fortunately, the suspects were quickly identified and apprehended, and a follow-up call informed residents the suspects were in custody shortly after 9 p.m.
Zhane L.E. Ware, 18, of Delta was arrested and jailed for alleged aggravated robbery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. An unidentified 16-year-old male of Delta was arrested and transported to Grand Mesa Youth Services for alleged aggravated robbery and possession of a weapon by an underage person.
DPD had advance warning of the incident -- a lifelong friend of Ware's knocked on the rear door of the police department and informed officers Ware had asked him for a ride to Western Convenience Store. According to an arrest affidavit filed by the DPD, Ware had told the friend he planned to rob the store using a Ruger 9 mm pistol. The friend wasn't sure Ware was serious, but told him it was a bad idea. He refused to give a ride to Ware and the younger male, whom he did not know.
Officers went to check the area just moments before dispatch advised there had been a robbery at gunpoint at Western Convenience. The suspects were described as two males wearing paintball masks and camouflage shorts. Both were later arrested at Ware's home on Hastings Street.
During an interview at the police department, Ware said he was "car hopping" -- checking vehicles to see if they were unlocked, then taking items of value. One of the victims discovered Ware had stolen money from his vehicle, and told him to return the money or the police would be contacted.
Ware told officers he obtained the firearm by trading a knife stolen from a truck while he and buddies were carhopping.
After the robbery, Ware and the juvenile reportedly met the carhopping victim and gave him $108, the agreed upon amount of cash taken from the vehicle.
A backpack containing an additional $60 and the Ruger P89, fully loaded, with extra ammunition, were recovered at the juvenile's home.
At a bond hearing last Friday, public defender Daniel Lavrisha asked Judge Sandra Miller to consider a personal recognizance bond. He said Ware is a 2015 Delta High School graduate who lives with his parents and six siblings. He has never been arrested and does not have a car, so his risk of flight is minimal.
The district attorney's office objected, pointing out Ware had told officers he would have blown "her head off" if the attendant hadn't cooperated.
Judge Miller agreed with the DA's office. The affidavit shows Ware poses a significant risk to the community, she said, and while Ware had never been arrested, "law enforcement was well aware of him."
Aggravated robbery is a class three felony that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, up to 16 years in prison. The presumptive sentencing range for contributing to the delinquency of a minor is two to six years.
Ware will be formally charged next week.