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Theft victims help police catch suspect in 50 burglaries at CU-Boulder

BOULDER, Colo. — With six friends living under one roof, it wasn’t common practice for certain CU students to lock the door to their home in the University Hill area.

They thought being able to let their friends come and go as they pleased was better.

That is, until their stuff was stolen. Dylan John says of the thief, “He stole an iPad, laptop, speakers, a whole bag of toiletries full of deodorant toothpaste and shampoo. He also went into our refrigerator and stole a bag of deli meats and a gallon of ice cream. At first I thought it was somebody from the fraternity next door but once I realized more stuff had been stolen from the house, figured it was this guy.”

The man John is referring to is 34-year-old Daniel Cooper. Boulder Police officers say Cooper is a homeless man who let himself in to homes looking for marijuana and just helped himself to whatever he wanted.

John and his roommate George Derrington were with some friends the night of the theft, looking for some comfort food and after dinner they saw something sweeter than dessert.

They noticed Cooper across the street wearing what appeared to be Derrington’s stolen brown backpack. Derrington says, “I noticed these two younger looking people, college looking people, but one of them is wearing the backpack that I had literally gotten stolen that morning.”

They confronted the man and Derrington says of the backpack, “I had it by the back and I just ripped it open and inside was my roommate’s laptop that had gotten robbed that day as well.”

The students held on to Cooper as someone went to get police. Cooper ran away at one point during the arrest, but didn’t get far.

Police took him into custody just a few blocks away on campus. After that, police say Cooper started talking. He drove around pointing out all the places he had stolen from.

Officers say Cooper may be connected to more than 50 burglaries in the University Hill area. And it gets worse.

Detective Sgt. Rob Bustrum with the Boulder Police Department says Cooper did more than just use homes as his own.

He says Cooper, “Stole a car up in Ft. Collins, brought it down here drove it around for a while. We impounded it. He went and stole it back from the impound yard, wasn’t done with it.”

Bustrum also says Cooper confessed to touching a young woman while she was sleeping.

John says, “I would just say that we’re lucky that we caught the guy. I’m happy that a lot of people are getting some closure from this.” Derrington agrees saying, “I’m glad to find out I helped solve a big problem like that. That’s a good feeling.”

Officers say almost every home hit by Cooper was unlocked. Derrington says, “Keep your doors locked and watch your back. Everyone’s not as nice as they seem to be sometimes.”

Story by: Marika Lorraine