Charges in Last Chance Mine burglary case reduced

Three felonies dropped to misdemeanor trespassing

MINERAL COUNTY — According to reports from Last Chance Mine owner Jack Morris the three felony charges pending jury trial against Ken Love have been dropped by recently elected 12thJudicial District Attorney Alonzo Payne.

Morris said the decision was made during a court hearing that he was not aware of and only learned of the verdict through word of mouth around the Creede community.

The last update on Feb. 4 printed in the Mineral County Miner was that the case was headed to jury trial because the suspect, Love, had not accepted a plea deal or that a plea deal had not been offered according to Rio Grande County Court documents.

It was at this point that Morris learned that the three felony charges, including third-degree burglary, sixth-degree burglary and felony theft had been dropped per recommendations and a plea deal reached between Love and DA Payne. According to Morris, the charges were dropped to a misdemeanor trespassing charge and a fine.

“The verdict was reached on Feb. 17 and I was not notified or consulted before hand. Despite the video surveillance, admission of guilt by Love and the return of a portion of the property that was stolen, they made their decision to drop all charges without my knowledge or involvement,” stated Morris.

According to Morris an unidentified party, who was later identified through video surveillance as Love, broke into the main shaft during the business’s off season and removed a rare amethyst geode from the wall of the mine and used tools to try to remove pieces of one of the most prominent amethyst veins that is shown during tours.

The theft was reported at the beginning of July of 2020 and by July 15, Morris had recovered video footage of someone entering the mine and leaving with material. Morris also stated that Love had brought some of the material to the Mineral County Sheriff’s Department after he was formally charged with several counts of theft.

Both District Attorney Payne and Love have not responded to inquiries about the case at this time.

“I do not feel that this was handled in the best interest and safety of the community and I feel that the community has a right to know the outcome of this case,” finished Morris. Morris is also seeking restitution for broken locks that were damaged during the theft.