Suspect wanted in bizarre thefts


SAGUACHE — After responding to a call on a possible car theft in the town of Saguache, Sgt. Richard Pascoe discovered the suspect had allegedly stolen a second vehicle after abandoning his own vehicle which was in perfectly sound condition.

When Sgt. Pasco responded to his first call, John Christopher Rhees had driven off with a 1997 Chevy Lumina, after pulling into the victim’s driveway in a white Chevy Blazer. The man reportedly acted disoriented and not sure of where he was, telling the woman he was looking for his buddy. He was also bleeding from his wrist.

The woman told the suspect to get out of her car, his buddy was not there, and he apologized. He then jumped into her vehicle and took off south on Highway 285. The victim described him as a white male, about five foot eight inches tall, blonde hair and a brown beard. She also said he was carrying a large backpack. 

While Pascoe was examining the white Blazer, he noticed it had caution lights on top and a hard hat was lying inside. About that time, he received a call reporting the Blazer had been stolen from a business in Salida. After talking to the business owners to tell them the Blazer had been found, the owners declined to file charges because the vehicle had been recovered so quickly.

The owner of the Blazer said his wife saw the man who took his Blazer and the description matched that given to Pascoe by the owner of the Lumina. The Blazer’s owner said the man probably abandoned the vehicle for the Lumina because the Blazer was about out of gas.

While transporting the owner of the Blazer to Saguache to pick up his vehicle, Pascoe noticed a grey Toyota truck with Texas license plates on the side of the road. After running the plates, he learned the vehicle was registered to a John Christopher Rhees in Houston, Texas. A man fitting Rhees description also was spotted asking for a ride because his vehicle broke down but the man he approached ran him off his property.

Rhees vehicle was impounded. The Chevy Lumina was recovered impounded in Durango and the owner was notified. The suspect has not yet been located and the investigation is ongoing.