Walter and Jolene Ahrens sighted a stolen car on their way out of Johnson Village Friday morning.
The car in question was their own.
They were headed up Trout Creek Pass on their way to Colorado Springs Friday morning for a doctor’s appointment when Walter spotted their own black Lincoln Town Car headed back toward Johnson Village.
The car had been discovered stolen earlier the morning of June 19, the last in a string of car thefts stretching from Salida to Buena Vista.
The Ahrens turned around and followed their car, which turned into the Buena Vista KOA Journey on CR 303.
They contacted the Chaffee County Communications Center, and law enforcement arrived in minutes to arrest Michael Mosteller, 42.
Mosteller was already the subject of a “be on the lookout” alert issued by Saguache County Sheriff’s Office.
Mosteller had been arrested for second-degree aggravated car theft June 15 in Saguache County and had been released Wednesday on a personal recognizance bond.
On Thursday, car thefts began in Salida. The arrest affidavit filed by Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office details the progression of thefts from Thursday evening to Friday morning.
A Honda CR-V stolen in Salida Thursday was later found at a Nathrop home where a Ford Edge had been stolen.
The Ford was later seen by the owner of a Sprinter van who stopped an intruder.
He identified the intruder as Mosteller from a “be on the lookout” photo from Saguache County shown to him by sheriff’s deputies.
The Ford was later found abandoned at Cottonwood Hot Springs on CR 306 west of Buena Vista, where police and sheriff’s deputies were unable to locate the thief.
Just after 6 a.m., Friday, a white Lincoln Town Car was found still running in an alley in Buena Vista.
The car had been stolen from Cottonwood Hot Springs and driven into town.
A black Lincoln Town Car belonging to the Ahrenses was missing from the same alley.
That car was identified by a man who caught another man opening his truck door Friday morning and picking up the wallet that had been left inside.
The owner of the truck identified Mosteller as the intruder.
Additional reports from Salida Police Department were unavailable.
Mosteller is currently charged with second-degree burglary – no forced entry – residence, first-degree criminal trespass, aggravated motor vehicle theft, two counts of first-degree criminal trespass, aggravated motor vehicle theft and attempted theft.
Other charges from related cases in Salida may be filed.
Mosteller was due for a hearing on advisement Monday in District Court, but that proceeding was delayed.
He is scheduled to appear July 1 in Saguache County Court.